Behind another dominant performance from starter Paige Parker, the Oklahoma Sooners beat the Washington Huskies 3-1 on Friday night and punched their ticket for a Sunday chance at the WCWS finals.
Parker limited the Huskies to just three hits in 6.1 innings, allowing only a solo home run to UW leadoff hitter Ali Aguilar in the sixth. Parker struck out six and walked just one on the night, and handed off to Paige Lowary to record the last two outs for the victorious Sooners.
OU gathered its three runs one at a time in the second, fifth and sixth innings. Fale Aviu scored the first Sooners run on a controversial play, when Lea Wodach bunted the ball straight into the ground and Aviu ran home from third. Huskies catcher Morganne Flores picked up the ball and reached to tag the onrushing Aviu, but Aviu simply ran around Flores and dove to the plate. Although runners aren’t allowed to leave the baseline by more than three feet, and Aviu seemed clearly outside this parameter, the home plate umpire called her safe, putting OU up.
Aviu’s RBI single was responsible for OU’s second run, plating Kelsey Arnold in the fifth. Sydney Romero’s sixth-inning leadoff homer ended the scoring for the Sooners. Romero had a nice bounceback game after a rough Baylor contest, making a good defensive play to go with her one-run bomb.
Oklahoma’s defense on the whole was much improved from Thursday — it committed no errors, while Washington had a crucial two.
The Sooners now await the results of Saturday’s doubleheader. They will have two opportunities to beat either Oregon, Baylor or Washington and advance to the WCWS finals. (If I were a betting man, I’d say they’ll meet Florida there. The Gators have looked formidable so far on the other side of the bracket.)
A day of rest should allow a fresh Paige Parker to take the hill again on Sunday.