OKLAHOMA 5, AUBURN 2
For the second straight year, the Oklahoma Sooners ended the Auburn Tigers’ season.
Last year’s edition had much more drama and flair, what with it being in the Women’s College World Series, but the second verse remains the same as the first. OU’s 5-2 victory on Saturday afternoon sends the Tigers out of the tourney again, ending their attempt to get to OKC for the third consecutive year.
Nicole Pendley’s 3-run homer in the second was the big source of offense for the Sooners. Auburn answered in the ensuing stanza, as Casey McCrackin blasted a solo homer to left, but OU kept the Tigers down for the most part. Paige Lowary would enter the game after 2.1 innings and proceeded to dominate. Lowary allowed just one run (unearned), two hits and none for extra bases. She struck out five Auburn batters and walked none, proving to be a force in the circle again.
LSU 1, FLORIDA STATE 0
The Tigers have forced a game three!
With their backs against the wall in a do-or-die game, Allie Walljasper and the Tigers got the job done.
Walljasper was absolutely excellent in the pivotal game, allowing just one hit and two walks in seven full innings of work, as the Seminoles struggled all day with her.
LSU’s lone run came in the bottom of the third inning when Aliyah Andrews singled home Claire Weinberger. That was all the Tigers would end up needing.
The rubber match will take place at Sunday afternoon, with a trip to the WCWS on the line.
TEXAS A&M 6, TENNESSEE 5
Just when it looked like the Volunteers would breeze to their first WCWS appearance since 2015, the Texas A&M offense woke up and put together a furious rally to come back and force a deciding game three.
Trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, the Aggies exploded for four runs to take a 5-4 lead. Tennessee got a run back in the top of the sixth to tie it, but a Tori Vidales RBI single swung the game 6-5 in favor of the Aggies.
Payton McBride pitched a scoreless top of the seventh to hold on to the victory and force a game three Sunday afternoon.
FLORIDA 2, ALABAMA 1
After a great battle in the circle, Alabama couldn't get past Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill, as the Gators advance to the Women’s College World Series following their 2-1 win over the Crimson Tide.
Barnhill could not be stopped and redeemed herself after she lost the game on Thursday. The sophomore pitcher threw a complete game, allowing one run on two hits, one walk (hit a batter), and 12 strikeouts. She hindered the Crimson Tide from a hit for five of the seven innings.
The two hits came in the second inning from Alabama’s Rachel Bobo who tripled, followed by a double by Elissa Brown off an error made the Gator defense which brought Bobo in to score.
Alabama’s pitcher Alexis Osorio had a great game, as well. She pitched a complete game, allowing two runs on just three hits, five walks, and eight strikeouts.
Florida gave the pitcher a bit of a problem in the first inning. Amanda Lorenz started the trouble, leading off with a single. It followed with Osorio walking Kayli Kvistad. Aleshia Ocasio ripped a single, which brought Lorenz in to score.
After the bases were loaded with another walk, Jordan Roberts got hit by a pitch and brought in Kvistad to score.
Florida will play against the winner of the Texas A&M/Tennessee game.
OREGON 6, KENTUCKY 5
It was do or die time for the Wildcats in Eugene, and they failed to prevail.
Battling to keep their Women’s College World Series hopes alive, Kentucky was able to contain Oregon’s stellar offense for the first few innings, all while providing a little bit of their own. The Wildcats began the game with a spark of run scoring, as Brooklin Hinz was able to drive in a run right before Alex Martens brought her home.
The third run for Kentucky was scored on a solo shot to left by Abbey Cheek. As you can see, it was a fantastic hit.
Throughout the first four innings, Erin Rethlake—the surprise starter—was able to work her way out of jam after jam. Ultimately, she was pulled in the 5th to allow Meagan Prince to try and get the Wildcats through the inning. However, she did that while allowing 2 runs to score in the process (it would have been more if not for the defensive heroics of Katie Reed).
The bottom of the 6th allowed Kentucky to gain some breathing room, as a single into right field by Rethlake took the UK lead from 3-2 to 5-2.
However, Kentucky wouldn’t maintain the lead for long. A disastrous start to the 7th inning led to the Ducks driving in two runs to bring the Kentucky lead to 5-4. Then, with runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out, a single to left by Mia Camuso brought home 2 more runs. Like their hopes at a trip to the Women’s College World Series, Kentucky’s lead had evanesced.
After their comeback win tonight, Oregon is headed to Oklahoma City. Kentucky is headed back to Lexington.