Shelby Pendley had Oklahoma’s first hit before some Sooner fans had even gotten to their seats at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday night.
And those fans spent the next six innings waiting for another OU hit that never came.
Meanwhile, Alabama had a few big ones, scoring its final five runs on two homers in a 6-2 win over Oklahoma in the first round of the Women’s College World Series.
Alabama pitcher Jaclyn Traina (25-3), who defeated the Sooners twice in the same stadium in the 2012 WCWS championship series, allowed just one hit and five walks while striking out nine.
“I was a little worried after she gave up that homer in the first and their crowd got into it,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “But after that it was vintage Jaclyn Traina.”
The loss sends the Sooners into the loser’s bracket, where they’ll face Louisiana-Lafayette at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game.
Thursday night started with promise when Pendley launched a solo home run — her team-leading 18th — in the top of the first inning to give the Sooners an early 1-0 lead. After Alabama tied the score, OU went back on top in the fourth inning thanks to two Alabama errors.
After that, Alabama’s bats came alive. A pair of singles to start the bottom of the fourth inning led to Peyton Grantham’s home run to left-center field for a 4-2 Crimson Tide lead.
An inning later, Kallie Case singled and Jadyn Spencer followed with a line drive that barely cleared the left-field fence to make it 6-2.
OU’s Lauren Chamberlain got few chances to do any damage. She grounded out to shortstop in the first inning, then walked on four pitches in each of her next two plate appearances.
Sooner pitcher Kelsey Stevens (37-10) had been strong until the home run barrage in the fourth and fifth innings. She was pulled with one out in the fifth, having allowed six runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Pendley shifted to the circle to finish the game, holding Alabama hitless in the final 12/3 innings.
With hopes of defending their national title this week, the Sooners quickly find themselves playing for their lives on Saturday.
“I feel like we had an uncharacteristic offensive approach tonight,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “I know we’re a better offensive team. I think the best way to say it is we were playing defense on offense. We’re better than that.
“We’ve got to regroup and come back and fight.”