Phoenix staff, wire reports
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Sooners saw their dream of back-to-back national championships end on Saturday with a 4-2 loss to top-seeded Oregon in the day’s final elimination game.
The Ducks (56-8) will make their first appearance in the semifinals and will meet No. 2 Alabama at 2:30 p.m. today, needing to beat the Crimson Tide twice to advance to the national championship series which begins Monday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The loss ends OU’s season at 51-13.
Oregon got all the runs it would need in the third inning on a run-scoring double by Janie Takeda with one out and a two-run double from Kailee Cuico to make the score 3-0.
Oklahoma would get on the board with a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single from Jessica Vest, cutting the deficit to 3-1. OU would make the score 3-2 when Shelby Pendley hit a solo home run with two outs in the fifth inning.
Oregon added an insurance run in the seventh when Takeda dropped a single in front of OU right fielder Erin Miller to make the score 4-2.
The Sooners would threaten in the bottom of the seventh when Whitney Ellis led off with a single. After Destinee Martinez grounded out and Lauren Chamberlain struck out, Pendley reached on an infield single but both runners were left on the bases when Brittany Williams hit into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Sooners 3, UL-Lafayette 1
Kelsey Stevens allowed six hits, Brittany Williams hit a two-run first-inning double and defending NCAA softball champion Oklahoma beat Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday in an elimination game in the Women’s College World Series.
Callie Parsons added an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning for Oklahoma, which lost to top-seeded Oregon in another elimination game Saturday night.
Louisiana-Lafayette (49-10-1) had beaten the Sooners in two of three games during a regular-season series but the Ragin’ Cajuns couldn’t come up with the key hit Saturday against Stevens (38-9), stranding 11 baserunners and failing to score after loading the bases with one out in the third inning. Lexie Elkins hit a solo homer in the seventh for their only run.
“That was a fight,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “That was an absolute battle from start to finish. I am so extremely proud of Kelsey Stevens and the fight she put in today to hold them to six hits (and) finding ways to get out of innings. She had timely strikeouts. They had opportunities numerous times and I’m really proud of the way Kelsey found a way to get of it.”
In the first inning, Lauren Chamberlain reached on an error for the Sooners and Shelby Pendley walked before Williams’ double to center field off Louisiana-Lafayette starter Christina Hamilton (29-4).
Hamilton, who became as famous in recent days for wearing black-rimmed glasses without lenses as for her pitching, allowed only three hits the rest of the way.
Parsons’ home run was her first of the season. She hit a slicing line drive that landed just inside the left-field line and eluded left fielder Shelbi Redfearn, who tried to make a sliding catch. The ball rolled
“This is a game of momentum,” Parsons said. “Going into the at-bat, with two outs, I knew I had to do something to help us gain back that momentum going into the seventh so I took my hacks.”
Elkins led off the seventh with her 24th homer of the season, over the right-center field fence. Samantha Walsh followed with a single to left field but Stevens retired Shellie Landry on an infield popup and Redfearn on a groundout. Stevens now is tied for first in NCAA Division I pitching wins this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns entered the WCWS hitting .307 but scored only two runs in their two games - both on Elkins home runs.
“We didn’t play our best softball the last couple of times,” Louisiana-Lafayette coach Michael Lotief said. “I’m sure it had something to do with the venue, sure it had something to do with the opponents, sure it had something to do with their crazy coach, but our kids made us proud. It’s been a magical, phenomenal year.”