Women’s College World Series: The SEC dominates Day One


Parity was a phrase thrown around a lot in Oklahoma City yesterday. This field of eight for the 2014 Women’s College World Series was supposed to be up for grabs. However, four teams separated themselves from the pack, and four were left scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.

The day began with an embarrassing 11-0 Baylor loss to the Florida Gators. A loss Baylor Lady Bears head coach Glen Moore described as “maybe the worst game that [he’s] been a part of coaching.”

It was all Florida in a five-inning defeat of a surprise Baylor team.

One thing is certain. Those Florida gals can hit.

More from OU softball

Florida’s Chelsea Hurndon came in to pinch hit for Aubree Munroe and smacked a (mercy rule) walk-off grand slam to left center—a pretty incredible way for Florida to finish off a Baylor team, stunned and confused.

“I thought [Baylor] played a very good super regional,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said following the victory. “We were watching as we were waiting through rain.  Really good team and for our team come out and to get as many runs as we were able to get early off of Whitney Canion, that was the goal — to get as many runs as we could, because we know what their offense can do and has done.”

The Florida Gators win was just the first of three SEC victories in Oklahoma City.

The Kentucky Wildcats upset the no. 3 seed UCLA Bruins in the NCAA Super Regionals. In their first WCWS appearance, Kentucky saw no reason to slow down.

Their opening-round opponent was the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, a high-powered offense, who know how to light up the scoreboard. However, UK’s Kelsey Nunley gave up just one hit to ULL, which was a solo home run from Lexie Elkins in the first inning.

Six teams in the WCWS had pitchers named to one of the three NFCA All-American teams. Kentucky and Oklahoma were the only two without the honor.

“They do things the right way. [Rachel Lawson] built it from the ground up. I think it’s a Cinderella story.” – Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy on Kentucky Softball

This did not faze Nunley, though. Nunley and the ‘Cats executed about as well as you could ask for, and tacked on four runs to give Kentucky a three-run victory over a good ULL team.

“I kind of expected at least, them to hit at least one good ball,” Nunley said. “I knew that they were a good hitting team and I know that home runs happen all the time.  I just tried to stay calm and relax and kept throwing.”

Kentucky now gets the pleasure of facing the Alabama Crimson Tide—the second overall seed in the tournament.

Oklahoma looked they may give Alabama a run for its money, but Jaclyn Traina shook off her first inning jitters and Peyton Grantham and Jadyn Spencer’s late home runs gave the Tide a four-run cushion heading in to the seventh.

“I just think at that point you don’t let up,” Spencer said. “Oklahoma is a great team and you can’t really sit on a two‑run lead like that.  So I think everyone in the lineup was trying to pile it on and come out with a win tonight.”

The defending National Champions could not find much offense after Shelby Pendley knocked one over the fence in the first, and they now face elimination Saturday afternoon.

However, this sets up the first meeting between conference rivals Kentucky and Alabama this season. Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy commented on this SEC battle scheduled tonight.

“We know their kids, it’s a veteran team,” Murphy said. “We absolutely love what [Rachel Lawson] has done there. Classy team, they do things the right way. She’s built it from the ground up. I think it’s a Cinderella story.”

While the Kentucky can afford to lose tonight, they certainly will want to take advantage of the opportunity to sneak in to Sunday’s National Title series-deciding game(s).

It was a perfect storm for the SEC. The only team not from the SEC playing tonight will be the Oregon Ducks, who just so happen to be the top overall seed and would probably prefer people to keep talking about the SEC.

The Ducks will face the Florida Gators at 6 p.m. on ESPN 2, and the Crimson Tide and Kentucky Wildcats will take the field afterwards.

Follow @StorminInNorman on Twitter for all your updates on the 2014 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.