On Friday afternoon, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (49-2) gutted out a 4-2 win over the 16-seeded Washington Huskies (45-13) in the Norman Super Regional. With the victory, OU now moves one step closer toward punching its ticket to OKC and the 2021 Women’s College World Series.
Oklahoma’s Nicole May received her 11th start in the circle on Friday, and in 7.0 innings, the freshman struck out five Huskies and surrendered seven hits on 91 total pitches while facing 27 batters. It’s not a massive sample size, but thus far this postseason, May appears to be the Sooners’ top performing pitcher. If she continues to show this kind of growth and development going forward, this team would truly be as complete as they come.
For Washington, Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and National Player of the Year finalist senior Gabbie Plain proved why she’s considered one of the best, but even she was unable to totally contain the Sooners at the plate. On the day she gave up five hits and four walks to just two strikeouts on 89 pitches.
In the bottom of the first, freshman Tiare Jennings got things started with a lead-off double to right, then Plain hit three batters to walk a run in, giving Oklahoma an early 1-0 advantage going into the second frame.
In the top of the second, junior Sami Reynolds tied the ball game up with a solo home run to center. May was able to shake off the bomb and retire the next batters, leaving the teams all knotted up at one run apiece.
In the bottom of the third, National Player of the Year finalist Jocelyn Alo crushed the first pitch she saw for a solo shot of her own, effectively pushing her Sooners back out in front by a run. That would be all for Oklahoma as the Huskies closed out the side.
In the bottom of the fifth, Alo would once again lead off the frame, and she got things started with another walk to first. Next, freshman Jayda Coleman moved pinch runner Rylie Boone to second on a fielder’s choice ground-out. Then, sophomore Kinzie Hansen busted a would-be RBI single up the middle, but the Washington outfielder misplayed the roller, allowing her to race all the way home and extend OU’s lead to 4-1.
UW tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, but after recording a single homer to left, May and the Sooner defense slammed the door shut and took game one on a game-winning double play.
Up next, Oklahoma takes on Washington for round two of the Norman Super Regional on Saturday, May 29. If the Sooners win, they’ll officially punch their ticket to the WCWS. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT on ABC. The Huskies, now facing elimination, must win this next contest if they want to force a game three on Sunday.
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