No one said it would be easy. However, the Sooners coasted in a series-clinching win over the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in the NCAA Super Regionals.
Oklahoma was shutout Saturday night, and due to a weather delay, Game Three was pushed to Sunday. The Sooners responded to last night’s 4-0 loss with an 8-2 win, punching their ticket to the Women’s College World Series for a fourth consecutive season.
On a calm Sunday afternoon, the Sooners staggered out of the gate. Tennessee’s Haley Tobler reached first on an error, which drove in a run from Megan Geer.
OU had been in a similar spot in the second inning last night, but the final outcome would be much different in the final game of a best-of-three.
Lauren Chamberlain, a driving force in OU’s victory, hit her first of two home runs of the day in the bottom of the third. The solo shot to left center was followed by an Erin Miller RBI single that drove in Brittany Williams, who managed to get around the catcher and slide safely in to home plate.
The Lady Vols tied up the game in the fourth with a Melissa Davin solo home run. However, Davin’s game-tying run would only temporarily even the score.
Shelby Pendley perfectly executed a squeeze bunt that allowed her to reach first on a fielder’s choice, but more importantly allow Destinee Martinez to reach home plate from third.
The Sooners’ 3-2 lead in the fourth would ultimately be enough, but Patty Gasso’s club would tack on four home runs in the fifth and sixth.
Javen Henson initiated the home run derby with a solo shot to left field. Then in the sixth, Lauren Chamberlain, unfazed by a torn PCL, smacked her second homer of the day to put Oklahoma up three scores.
With Pendley on first, Brittany Williams homered to left center in the sixth, as did Georgia Casey who went yard to give Oklahoma’s final run count of eight.
In the circle, Ellen Renfroe and the Lady Vols could not duplicate their dominating performance from the night before. Tennessee seemed to unravel once Javen Henson’s fifth inning shot left the park.
On the flip side, sophomore Kelsey Stevens rewarded a loyal Sooner home crowd with a huge victory in Oklahoma’s last true home outing of the season.
Stevens struck out five and gave up only three hits to the Lady Vols. Despite the score, Tennessee made Stevens work hard for the victory, but Oklahoma was able to keep it together and earn a trip back to the WCWS in Oklahoma City.
The seventh-seeded Sooners will face the second-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide Thursday night. Coincidentally, Oklahoma and Tennessee was a re-match of last year’s WCWS National Championship Series. A series Oklahoma swept. However, Alabama and Oklahoma will be a re-match of the 2012 National Championship series, which resulted in a national title for the Crimson Tide.
The Sooners will need to bring the bats out over the next week and hope Stevens can replicate Keilani Ricketts’ dominating 2013 performance if they want to repeat as National Champions.
For Women’s College World Series coverage, follow @StorminInNorman on Twitter. We will be in Oklahoma City all week to keep you updated on OU’s road to a third national title.