Women’s College World Series: Scouting the Alabama Crimson Tide


On day one of Oklahoma’s title defense, the seeding committee did Oklahoma no favors. The road to back-to-back National Championships will not be an easy path.

The Oklahoma Sooners and Alabama Crimson Tide is a match-up better suited for a best-of-three series for all the marbles. However, these two are battling for the upper hand on their side of the bracket.

While both teams appear evenly matched on paper, there is no respect lost between the two highly-touted programs.

“[Patty Gasso’s] got a heck of a good offense, a great defense,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Her coaching staff is intact. They’re always going to win.”

Murphy, though, believes the absence of Keilani Ricketts will make a difference. Though, Kelsey Stevens has been a serviceable from the circle, and helped Oklahoma to a WCWS berth in her first year as Oklahoma’s go-to pitcher.

Alabama’s All-American pitcher Jaclyn Traina, though, is a terror from the circle, boasting a 23-3 record this season. Her 2.02 ERA and 182 struck out batters can attest to her selection as a First-Team NFCA All-American.

Traina will be a key to the Crimson Tide’s success, and so will fellow First Team All-American selection Haylie McCleney.

As a sophomore outfielder from Morris, Alabama, McCleney has not struggled at all getting on base. As a freshman, she finished the season with 86 hits, and is on pace yet again with 82 hits in 2014.

Scoring 67 runs, Stevens and Co. will have to figure out how to stop McCleney, as well as an Alabama team with the best overall batting average in the Southeastern Conference. The Tide rank third in the SEC in runs scored, trailing just the Auburn Tigers and a Florida Gators team, also, in Oklahoma City for the College World Series.

The Sooners will attempt to defend their National Championship, however, a key to beating Alabama, and the rest of the field, will be avoiding a must-defend mindset.

“To see where we are now is pretty amazing,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “We’re very proud of our accomplishments. I don’t think that this team is going into this World Series saying we have to defend our title. We don’t talk about it. It’s not worth talking about. It’s not worth trying to put pressure. You gotta take one pitch at a time and one game at a time.”

Oklahoma and Alabama is set for an 8:30 p.m. start in Oklahoma City. The game can be seen on ESPN 2, and the winner will face the winner of the Kentucky Wildcats and UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Friday night at the same time. The loser will still be alive, but would have to win out Saturday and Sunday to get to the best-of-three series.

Follow @StorminInNorman for all Women’s College World Series updates throughout the event.