OKLAHOMA 4, AUBURN 0
Auburn’s attempt at revenge against Oklahoma didn’t get off to the best of starts. The Tigers were shutout by the Sooners, who fearlessly walked in to their opponent’s home dwelling and posted a 4-0 victory.
After playing five scoreless innings, OU was tired of looking at zeroes on the scoreboard. The Sooners put up two runs in the sixth inning thanks to Nicole Pendley and Macey Hatfield. Pendley struck first with an RBI double and Hatfield followed her up with an RBI single. In the ensuing inning, the Sooners put up two additional runs off the bats of Shay Knighten and Sydney Romero. Knighten and Romero each laced RBI singles into play in the seventh inning, forcing Auburn to feel a need to put together a whale of a rally.
A rally in which, unfortunately for the Tigers, they were not able to muster up. Paige Parker was far too dominant in the circle for them to get anything going all afternoon. Parker had 14 strikeouts, three walks and allowed just four hits. While three went for extra bases, Parker kept them stymied and off the scoreboard.
Game 2 in this Super Regionals series is on Saturday.
TENNESSEE 8, TEXAS A&M 1
Tennessee made quick work of Texas A&M to go up 1-0 in their Super Regional series.
The Vols utilized a big third inning as they scored five runs in the stanza to thrust their 3-0 lead up to 8-0. Texas A&M’s pitchers couldn’t quite contain the Vol hitters, who showed patience at the plate (four walks) throughout and small-balled their way to ballooning their lead (an RBI single and sac groundout tacked on two of the five runs). Samantha Show, Lexi Smith and Payton McBride were unable to put the fire out and just didn’t have it today.
Aubrey Leach, Jenna Holcomb, Meghan Gregg and Brooke Vines combined to go 4-13 at the top of the lineup, which certainly proved pivotal in grabbing the win on Friday night. Matty Moss maintained her dominance in the circle, meanwhile, and while her scoreless inning streak came to an end, she still flexed her muscles. Moss struck out five Aggie batters, walked twice and allowed only five hits.
The lone run of the ballgame for A&M was scored by Blake Ann Fritsch, whom Sarah Hudek drove in on a bloop single in the fifth to avoid being run-ruled.
FLORIDA STATE 3, LSU 1
With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Florida State broke the chain with their bats, putting up two runs on an RBI double and single.
The Seminoles then proceeded to take the opening game of the Tallahassee Super Regional over the LSU Tigers by the score of 3-1.
LSU pitcher Carley Hoover took the loss, as she allowed three runs on eight hits and six strikeouts. Florida State pitcher Jessica Burroughs earned the win after pitching a complete game, allowing only one earned run and three hits.
Bailey Landry got her 289th career hit, which puts her second on the Tigers’ career hit list. Emily Griggs brought in the only run for LSU with a single.
OREGON 4, KENTUCKY 0
The Kentucky Wildcats’ trip to the pacific northwest started grimly, as the Cats were shutout by the Oregon Ducks 4-0 in Game 1 of the Supers.
The Ducks and Cats traded scoreless stanzas until the home team struck for a run in the third. Catcher Gwen Svekis delivered an RBI single to bring Alexis Mack in to score as one of Svekis’ two hits on the day. Three innings later, following another streak of scoreless frames, the Ducks opened the game up and put up a three-spot.
Two sacrifice groundouts by Mia Camuso and Madi Bishop propped the lead up to 3-0, and then Lauren Lindvall reached on an error that brought Shannon Rhodes home to make it 4-0.
Megan Kleist held down the fort in the circle all afternoon, as the Ducks hurler pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout. Kleist, 20-3 on the season, punched out eight Kentucky batters and walked none while allowing two extra bases - a pair of doubles hit by Breanne Ray and Jenny Schaper.
Game 2 is Saturday.
FLORIDA 2, ALABAMA 0
Needing a big performance to avoid elimination, the Florida Gators turned to Delanie Gourley against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Gourley delivered, and then some, holding the Tide to four hits while striking out eight in seven innings to force a deciding game three in the series.
Alabama’s Sydney Littlejohn was very nearly as good as Gourley, save for one mistake in the top of the third inning to Amanda Lorenz. Lorenz blasted a 1-2 Littlejohn pitch over the wall to drive in Justine McLean along with herself for Florida’s only two runs of the game.
The Tide and Gators will now meet one final time, Saturday at 5 p.m. ET in Gainesville, with a trip to the WCWS on the line.
UCLA 1, OLE MISS 0
A run for UCLA in the top of the first inning was enough for the Bruins to see off Ole Miss with a 1-0 victory and advance to their record 29th Women’s College World Series.
UCLA was the designated road team for game two and Brianna Tautalafua plated the game’s lone run after getting on base via a two out double.
As the game went on, it was not that Ole Miss lacked for chances. The Rebels got baserunners via three hits and three walks, but went 0/15 with runners on base. The most damaging inning was the second as a throwing error got runners on second and third base with one out, but Ole Miss failed to advance the runners home.
After Thursday night’s 11 inning marathon, both coaches went with different starting pitchers. Ole Miss sat Kaitlin Lee in favor of Brittany Finney who went the distance while scattering four hits with five strikeouts and a lone walk. UCLA started Selina Ta’amilo but brought on Thursday’s hero, Rachel Garcia, for the final four innings. After Garcia threw 232 (!) pitches in game one, she only gave up a single walk and no hits over tonight’s final four innings.
Despite being swept in the Super Regional, the season ends as the best in Ole Miss program history. With Mike Smith in his third season at the helm of the program, the Rebels close their season with new program records for overall wins and SEC wins while the Super Regional appearance is the deepest into the NCAA tournament the program has progressed. For a team that won 16 SEC games combined in the previous four seasons before Smith’s arrival, his arrival has offered a dramatic change in the course of a program that now appears on the upswing despite the Super Regional defeat.