Top-seeded Oklahoma posted a 6-2 victory over Washington to end the Huskies' run at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Pitching, power and speed.
Top-seeded Oklahoma displayed all of those attributes at an exceptional level in a 6-2 victory over Washington on Sunday night to end the Huskies’ run at the Women’s College World Series.
The 11th-seeded Huskies (45-17) were faced with the tall task of beating the Sooners (55-4) two straight nights to reach the best-of-three championship series.
But the Sooners jumped to an early lead and held on to clinch a berth in the championship series, which begins Monday night.
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Tennessee (52-10) earned the other spot after eliminating Texas 2-1 in Sunday night’s preceding game.
Oklahoma’s fleet-footed No. 9 hitter, Brianna Turang, initiated the scoring in the third on a triple off UW starter Kaitlin Inglesby (23-9) and scored on a wild pitch. Then the Sooners turned up the power when the next batter, Lauren Chamberlain, smacked her 29th homer.
Three batters later, starting pitcher Keilani Ricketts (34-1) helped her cause with her 14th homer for a 3-0 lead.
With first base open the next inning and Chamberlain due up, the Huskies weren’t going to mess around. Inglesby walked Chamberlain intentionally with two outs, but the Huskies’ plan backfired when the next hitter, Georgia Casey, also walked to force in a run and give Oklahoma a four-run lead.
“I think they’re a very well-rounded team,” Inglesby said of the Sooners.
The Huskies provided a little power of their own when Kylee Lahners homered in the fifth to get the team on the board. But the rally didn’t stop there.
Shawna Wright and designated player Jerrin Fa’asua, making her first start in the WCWS, reached on a walk and a single, respectively.
Mercedes Wetmore, pinch running for Wright, scored when Kelli Suguro hit into a fielder’s choice, then Sooners third baseman Shelby Pendley threw the ball into right field and Wetmore scored.
Oklahoma added some insurance in the sixth inning on Casey’s second RBI of the night, a bloop single to left to make the score 5-2.
“This year, almost no one expected us to be here and we were determined to prove everybody wrong,” Wright said.
For the opportunity to play Oklahoma, the Huskies needed and got a victory over Michigan — the score was 4-1 — during the afternoon in the elimination bracket. The Huskies didn’t know which team they would play until about 3 a.m. local time because of a 15-inning game between Nebraska and Florida on Saturday night that pushed the Wolverines’ game against Arizona State deep into the evening.
Bryana Walker (20-7) improved her postseason record to 5-0 with a complete-game effort and seven strikeouts against the Wolverines, much better than her three-inning start against Nebraska on Thursday.
“(For) Thursday’s game, I was definitely nervous. First game in the World Series. My first time here,” said Walker, a junior. “I felt a lot more confident being on the field and being in the pitching circle. I just knew that my team needed me to step up and be better than I was on Thursday.”
The Huskies also avenged a 6-1 loss to Michigan in March.
WASHINGTON 4, MICHIGAN 1
|Washington||000 004 0||—||4||7||1|
|Michigan||000 010 0||—||1||4||1|
E — McNeill. DP — Washington 1, Michigan 1. LOB — Washington 4, Michigan 5. 2B — Lahners. SH — Fagaly, Souza. SB — Lawrence. CS — Lane.
|Walker W, 20-7||7.0||4||1||1||3||7||1.00|
|Driesenga L, 31-9||7.0||7||4||4||2||3||4.00|
WP — Walker. Pitches-strikes — Walker 112-77, Driesenga 93-55. T — 2:04. A — 8,712.
OKLAHOMA 6, WASHINGTON 2
|Oklahoma||003 101 1||—||6||8||1|
|Washington||000 020 0||—||2||3||2|
E — Pendley, Suguro 2. DP — Oklahoma 1, Washington 1. LOB — Oklahoma 10, Washington 5. 3B — Turang. HR — Chamberlain, Ricketts, Lahners. SH — Shults, Martinez.
|Ricketts W, 34-1||7.0||3||2||1||2||12||1.00|
|Inglesby L, 23-9||7.0||8||6||5||7||6||5.00|
WP — Inglesby. HBP — Fagaly (by Ricketts), Souza (by Ricketts). Pitches-strikes — Ricketts 106-74, Inglesby 160-84. T — 2:36. A — 9,093.