Oklahoma’s powerful lineup never could get going. Not Saturday night nor at any of the three games it played at the Women’s College World Series.
The Sooners saw their season end with a 4-2 loss to top-seeded Oregon in an elimination game Saturday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso gambled by starting Shelby Pendley over pitching ace Kelsey Stevens. Pendley, who entered the game with a 1.66 ERA in 38 innings, got through the first two innings, but the Oregon bats caught up to her the second time through the lineup.
Pendley hit the leadoff batter in the third inning, then issued a one-out walk before Janie Takeda ripped an RBI double.
Gasso promptly pulled Pendley, but Stevens allowed a double to the first batter she faced, Kailee Cuico, scoring two more for a 3-0 Ducks lead.
OU finally got its first hit in the fourth inning, with singles by Georgia Casey and Erin Miller to start the inning. Jessica Vest drove in a run with a single, but a botched squeeze bunt attempt killed the momentum.
The Sooners added another run when Pendley hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, her second of the WCWS.
A potential scoring opportunity in the sixth inning was hurt when Casey was thrown out on a questionable call at second base. OU would have had runners on first and second with no outs, but instead, a fielder’s choice and a popup ended the inning.
Whitney Ellis singled to start the seventh, but after a groundout, Lauren Chamberlain struck out. Pendley kept hope alive with an infield single, but Brittany Williams grounded out to end the game.
After averaging nearly seven runs per game during the season, OU managed only seven total runs in three WCWS games. Oklahoma’s season ended at 51-13, with its fourth consecutive WCWS appearance, the longest active streak in the country.
Oregon advances to the 2:30 p.m. game against Alabama on Sunday, needing to beat the Crimson Tide twice to advance to the WCWS championship series.
The Sooners advanced to Saturday night’s game with a 3-1 win over Louisiana-Lafayette behind a strong effort from Stevens earlier in the day.
Louisiana-Lafayette had baserunners in each of the final six innings, once loading the bases with one out, and Stevens never gave in.
Stevens allowed only a solo home run to ULL’s Lexie Elkins, her 24th of the year, but otherwise stranded 11 ULL runners on the base paths. Stevens gave up six hits and three walks, while striking out seven.
The Sooners did their damage with big hits. Brittany Williams’ two-run double in the first inning gave OU a 2-0 lead that stood until Callie Parsons added another in the sixth with an inside-the-park home run.
A crowd of 9,323 was announced, the largest crowd for the Saturday night session in WCWS history. It was also the third-largest crowd for any session. In all, 18,515 fans came through the gates at Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday.