The Oklahoma Sooners are headed back to the Women’s College World Series.
After enduring a nearly two-and-a-half-hour rain delay before the game even started, No. 3 Oklahoma (52-7) also had to overcome a last-inning comeback by No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette (46-9). The Sooners weathered both of those storms, however, to capture a 7-6 win and sweep the Norman Super Regional in two games.
The game was supposed to start at 6 p.m., but lightning and rain pushed first pitch back to 8:25 p.m. The Sooners then jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before the Ragin’ Cajuns rallied to tie it up in the fourth. Oklahoma went back on top on the fifth and pushed the lead to 7-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. ULL cut the lead to just one and even had the winning run at the plate on the game’s final play.
The win was No. 27 in a row for Oklahoma, two games off the school record of 29 set in 2005. OU has also won 34 of its past 35 contests. Oklahoma is 13-11 all-time now in Super Regional play with wins in 10 of its last 11 home Super Regional games.
Oklahoma will be making its 10th appearance in the Women’s College World Series, just the ninth team to reach double-digit trips to Oklahoma City. It also marks the fifth time in the last six years that OU qualified for OKC.
After pounding out 14 hits in an 8-2 win Thursday night, OU tacked on 12 more Friday and finished the weekend by outhitting ULL, 26-15. The Sooners also outscored the Ragin’ Cajuns, 15-8, and posted a slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .394/.403/.621 compared to ULL’s .278/.333/.556.
Freshman Sydney Romero tied a career high with three hits, including a solo homer in the fifth, and scored twice, while sophomores Lea Wodach and Kelsey Arnold each had two hits.
Sophomore Paige Parked earned the win to improve to 33-3 on the season, and she has a win in 23 straight appearances. She gave up six runs on nine hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Playing as the visiting team, Oklahoma used a two-out rally to plate three runs in the top of the second inning and open the scoring.
Romero picked up OU’s first hit of the game when she lined a single into left field. Back-to-back groundouts to first base then got Romero to third before senior Kady Self brought her home by dropping a 2-1 pitch into left field for an RBI single.
Wodach then hit a grounder back to the pitcher that should’ve been the third out, but an illegal pitch was called on Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher Alex Stewart, bringing Wodach back to the box and moving Self to second base. Wodach made Louisiana-Lafayette pay for the mistake as she flared a 2-0 pitch into center field to drive in Self.
Wodach took second on the throw home and advanced to third on an infield single from Arnold. With runners on the corners, senior Erin Miller hit a chopper to Haley Hayden at second base that was misplayed for an error, allowing Wodach to score Oklahoma’s third run of the inning.
Louisiana-Lafayette got two of those runs back in the bottom of the third.
Hayden drew a one-out walk and Shellie Landry and Lexie Elkins followed with back-to-back singles to right field to fill the bases. Kelsey Vincent’s grounder to the hole at shortstop brought in the first run for ULL, while Aleah Craighton’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2.
The Ragin’ Cajuns then tied it up in the bottom of the fourth when Sara Corbello led off the inning with a solo homer to center field, her 13th of the season.
Romero provided the counter-punch, though, in the top of the fifth when she drove a 2-2 pitch off the left field foul pole for her eighth home run of the season and her second of the Super Regionals.
OU added two more insurance runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.
In the sixth, Arnold reached on a bunt single with one out before Miller doubled to left-center. It was Miller’s 22nd double of the season, tying the Big 12 record set by Oklahoma State’s Jaime Foutch in 1997. A popup brought the second out of the inning, but freshman Shay Knighten came through in the clutch with a single back up the middle that brought in both Arnold and Miller to make it 6-3.
Sophomore Nicole Pendley started the seventh with a single to short. Wodach then picked up her second triple of the season by sending a deep drive to right-center that Craighton couldn’t come up with after a leaping attempt at the wall. Pendley came home with what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Louisiana-Lafayette wouldn’t go down easy in the bottom of the seventh. No. 9 hitter Kelli Martinez walked on four pitches and Hayden doubled to right-center to start the inning. Parker then got flyouts from Landry and Elkins, but Vincent sent a three-run homer to center field to cut OU’s lead to 7-6. Craighton then walked as the game-tying run, but DJ Sanders popped up to freshman Caleigh Clifton at second base on a 1-1 pitch for the game’s final out.