OKLAHOMA CITY – Softball can be a game of inches, and those inches haunted Oklahoma State in a season-ending loss in the Women's College World Series Saturday.
With the Cowgirls leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, California's Ashley Decker stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Decker hit a fly ball down the right field line, and Sammy Jo Diffendaffer appeared to be in position to make the play.
The ball began tailing away from Diffendaffer, who made a diving effort but came up just shy of making the catch. Instead of ending the inning, the ball rolled to the wall and Decker raced around the bases for a triple that scored three runs and gave Cal a 4-2 lead.
That turned out to be the game-winning hit. The Golden Bears added a run in the next at-bat thanks to an error by Chelsea Garcia, and then another in the sixth on a solo home run by Elia Reid to finish the scoring at 6-2.
Cal had taken its first lead of the game with an RBI single by Victoria Jones in the second inning, but the Cowgirls took control with back-to-back RBIs from Tamara Brown and Ashley Boyd in the fourth.
All of Cal's run were credited to Kat Espinosa, who gave up nine hits in five innings of work and was credited with a loss. California's Jolene Henderson pitched a complete game and held OSU to two runs on six hits and also struck out six batters.
The loss brings the Cowgirls' season to an end, but not before they recorded one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. OSU made it to the WCWS for the first time since 1998 while also recording its second consecutive 40-win season.