Katie Cochran finally got to sprint. After a jog-a-thon of meandering to first base, courtesy of one intentional walk after another, Cochran finally got to swing away and haul you know what.
And finally we found out why all these great Women's College World Series pitchers treated Cochran like Barry Bonds. Walked intentionally her first six trips to the plate in Oklahoma City, Cochran got her groove back on the grandest stage of all. In Game 2 of the Series finals Tuesday night at Hall of Fame Stadium, Cochran lofted a deep drive to left field that cleared the fence and cleared the way for Arizona State's NCAA championship. Cochran's fifth-inning, three-run homer broke open a close game and ignited the Sun Devils' 11-0 rout of Texas A&M. "My thanks go out to A&M for competing and pitching to her,” said Patrick Cochran, Katie's father. "I have a lot of respect for (Aggie pitcher) Megan Gibson.” This is the stuff of dreams, of course, coming to the World Series and winning. But Cochran came and found a Twilight Zone. Walked intentionally leading off games. Walked intentionally with runners on base. Going into the Super Regional, Cochran had been walked on purpose 19 times this season. Then she was intentionally walked 10 straight times in a four-game span. "These are the top teams in the country, the top pitchers,” Cochran said. "I didn't understand it at first.” Maybe that explains Cochran's third-inning gaffe. She trotted to first base on ball three and had to be summoned back to the plate. Who could blame her for being confused? Cochran, naturally, walked on the next pitch as Gibson gave her nothing at all to swing at. Cochran, a junior from Yorba Linda, Calif., led the NCAA in batting in 2007 and had another monster year in 2008, batting .439 with 13 homers going into Tuesday night.