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WCWS notebook: OU's Jessica Shults returns

By Mike Baldwin and Scott Wright, Staff Writers Modified: June 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm •  Published: June 4, 2011
Two days after revealing the cause of a nearly monthlong absence, Oklahoma sophomore Jessica Shults played in a game for the first time since May 8. Shults, who lost 25 pounds in her battle with pan-ulcerative colitis, was the designated player in OU's 4-1 season-ending loss to Missouri.

"I was pretty excited," Shults said. "It's been a long time. I worked pretty hard this last week to get back on the field. So it felt good. Just being back with my team has been the biggest part. I love my team. It was awesome to get to experience the World Series."

What convinced coach Patty Gasso to play Shults?

"Part of it is her smile and the look she has," Gasso said. "She's been working really hard on her swing. She's one of the best hitters in the country. Even when she's at 30 percent, it's pretty dang good. And I wanted to give her an opportunity to step forward for her team."

Shults struck out in both at bats.

SEC rivals square off

Alabama and Florida square off Sunday for a berth in the finals. The Gators must win twice. The Crimson Tide needs only one win.

The SEC rivals met six weeks ago in Gainesville, with Florida winning two of three.

'Bama won the first game 5-0 on Kelsi Dunne's 3-hit shutout.

In the second game, the Tide scored two runs in the top of the seventh for a 5-3 lead but the Gators scored three in the bottom of the seventh for a 6-5 win.

In the finale, Florida won 3-2 in nine innings.

"It's two great teams," said Florida coach Tim Walton. "I hope it's bases loaded with two outs in the second game."

After a brief pause, Florida left fielder Kelsey Bruder said: "I don't. I just want to win ... I hate to lose. I got sick to my stomach (Friday) night after that loss."

Attendance update

If the if-necessary session is needed Sunday and the finals extends to all three games, Women's College World Series attendance records will be shattered.

Average fans per session will definitely be a record. Through the first five sessions the average attendance has been 8,106 following Saturday crowds of 8,161 (afternoon session) and more than 8,500 (evening session). The previous record per session was 6,951 last season.

One record that won't be broken is the largest crowd in WCWS history — 9,080 on Saturday night last year.

Wieligman: Good effort on key play

The most pivotal play in Oklahoma State's season-ending 6-2 loss to California was a sinking line drive to right.

OSU owned a 2-1 lead in the fifth but the Bears had the bases loaded.

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