Despite an in-progress Thunder game and the Sooners not in action, 9,310 people attended Saturday night's Women's College World Series night session, the largest single-session attendance in tournament history.
This was the most extreme case of a continuing trend, with the annual Oklahoma City event's popularity rapidly increasing.
Through five sessions, the total attendance is 43,407, which is 2,710 more than at the same point last year. And that tournament set the all-time record of 67,631 for the entire event.
Individual session records have been set in each of this year's five sessions.
LSU CROWD CHEERS MOUSE
Jessica Mouse was cheered by both LSU and South Florida fans as she stepped up to the plate for her first at-bat Saturday.
The senior South Florida third baseman played three seasons at LSU. She graduated and sat out last season with a fractured foot before transferring to South Florida.
The LSU fans gave Mouse a standing ovation before her first at-bat, when she bunted and reached first base on a throwing error.
Mouse finished the game against her former team 0 for 1 with a strikeout, which came in the top of the fifth inning with runners on second and third and two outs.
SACRIFICE FLY TO SHORTSTOP WINS EARLY GAME FOR LSU
LSU coach Beth Torina said she can't remember seeing another infield sacrifice fly in all her years in softball.
But it was such a play in the bottom of the sixth inning that won Saturday's early game against South Florida.
“It was a pretty amazing, gutsy play,” Torina said.
Second baseman Allison Falcon popped out to shortstop with freshman A.J. Andrews on third base and one out.
USF shortstop Kourtney Salvarola had to turn her back to make the catch, and Andrews took a chance, sprinting toward home plate.
Salvarola's throw was a little off, and Andrews dove into home plate to score what would be the winning run.
“She was facing backwards, so my instinct was to just try it,” Andrews said. “It was a really close game, so I knew it would come down to something really close, like a close play.”
Falcon said: “A.J. completely bailed me out.”
Falcon turned to Andrews, who was sitting next to her during the postgame news conference, and added with a smile, “Thanks, A.J.”
Andrews responded: “Anytime.”
MEDINA LEAVES AFTER HUGE COLLISION
Andrews and South Florida first baseman Stephanie Medina collided after Andrews hit a high chopper in the bottom of the third. When Medina came to field the ball, she and Andrews ran into each other.
Andrews was called out to end the inning for runner interference, but both players were down in pain for an extended period.
“She came out of nowhere,” Andrews said. “When I run, my eyes are closed for a little while sometimes.”
She said when she opened her eyes, Medina was right there and they collided.
“It knocked the wind out of me,” Andrews said. “It hurt, but it didn't hurt bad enough for me to not play.”
Medina, one of South Florida's top hitters, didn't return to the game. She entered the game with a .285 batting average, seven home runs and 31 RBIs.
TENNESSEE COACH REFLECTS ON ‘SPECIAL SEASON'
Tennessee's season ended Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Oregon. The Volunteers' final record was 52-14.
Tennessee was a strong offensive team all year, but scored just four runs in its two WCWS games.
“This has been a special season,” said co-coach Ralph Weekly. “We didn't have any disciplinary problems all season long. The kids worked extra hard.
“I just think that what happened in the last two weeks ... if you checked the stats, we were two percentage points behind Alabama in SEC hitting. I think we went into a team-hitting slump at the wrong time.”