No. 1 Oklahoma (55-4) defeated No. 10 Florida State (49-12-1) by a 6-2 score to pull even in the Championship Series of the College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.
Florida State was designated as the home team for this game. Seminole ace Kathryn Sandercock took the ball. Tiare Jennings got the game started off for Oklahoma with a double to right field. Jocelyn Alo followed with a four pitch walk. Kinzie Hansen then bounced to Sydney Sherrill at third. Sherrill stepped on the bag and then fired to first for a slick double play. Nicole Mendes then grounded out to end the inning. Giselle Juarez stepped in the circle for the Sooners. Sherrill had a one out infield single. Elizabeth Mason came up and slammed a 3-1 pitch over the left centerfield wall. FSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Cassidy Davis followed with a four pitch walk but Juarez shut the door by striking out the final two batters.
It was three up and three down for the Sooners in the top of the second. Juarez settled down and retired the Noles in order in the bottom of the second.
Jana Johns started the third with a towering homer over the left field wall. Sandercock came back and sandwiched a hit from Alo between three ground ball outs to get out of the inning with no further damage. Juarez found her groove and retired FSU in order in the bottom of the third.
Sandercock put the Sooners down 1-2-3 in the fourth. Davis singled down the left field line to start the inning. However, Juarez stranded her there with three straight outs.
Sandercock kept cruising in the fifth. She again retired OU in order. Anna Shelnutt singled up the middle to start the inning. Muffley grounded to Grace Lyons at short and Lyons started the double play to clear the bases. Kaley Mudge worked a walk but Sherrill popped out to end the inning.
The Sooners made their move in the sixth inning. Jennings reached on an errant throw by Josie Muffley. Alo took advantage by crushing a no doubt home run over the centerfield wall. The Sooners took a 3-2 lead but they weren’t finished. Kinzie Hansen singled, Mendes singled up the middle, Mackenzie Donihoo then singled to score a run. At that point Caylan Arnold replaced Sandercock in the circle. Jayda Coleman greeted her with a single to score Mendes. Lyons laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third. After Jana Johns walked, Arnold buckled down to retire the final two batters of the inning. However, OU had taken a 5-2 lead. Mason hit a ball well but the liner went straight to Donihoo in left field for the first out. Dani Morgan worked a two out walk but was stranded at first.
Alo continued her hot hitting with a single to right. Hansen followed with another single advancing Alo to third. Mendes lifted a sacrifice fly to score Alo for a 6-2 lead. Emma Wilson came in to replace Arnold in the circle. Donihoo greeted her with another single but Wilson shut the door with a pair of groundouts. Juarez continued her stellar pitching by setting FSU down in order to close out the 6-2 win for the Sooners.
Kathryn Sandercock pitched 5 full innings allowing 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned) with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk. Caylan Arnold pitched 1.1 innings allowing 3 hits, one earned run with a walk and no strikeouts. Emma Wilson saw her first action of the World Series going two-thirds of an inning allowing one hit, no runs with no walks or strikeouts.
Elizabeth Mason was 1 for 3 with a homerun and 2 RBI. Sydney Sherrill, Cassidy Davis and Anna Shelnutt also had hits.
Sandercock pitched well enough to win most of the game but the big inning doomed her and the Seminoles. FSU only had one error but it was a big one as it was the play that opened the floodgates in the sixth inning. OU had no errors. Of course they get most of their attention for their offense but they are normally an outstanding defensive team. The Sooners proved why today. When Oklahoma plays defense this well they are tough to beat because it is hard to generate enough offense to beat them if they aren’t helping with errors.
FSU must find a way to generate more offense or they will have a tough time winning tomorrow. The good news is that FSU has shown that they can hit OU’s other pitchers besides Juarez and they got a good look at Juarez today so they will be able to make adjustments. Also, Juarez may not be as effective tomorrow after pitching seven full innings tonight.
Of course the problem for FSU is that Sooner lineup. OU actually isn’t hitting on all cylinders yet offensively. Remember, they average 10.9 runs per game. However, they are playing well enough to win especially if the Seminole bats stay quiet. If FSU can avoid errors this game is absolutely winnable but it is never easy to beat OU in Oklahoma.
Florida State will face Oklahoma in game 3 of the Championship Series of the College World Series in Oklahoma City. The winner of the game will be crowned the National Champions. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 3pm.