There’s something about the familiarity of an opponent that can make the biggest of stages seem much smaller. That’s what happened in Oklahoma City on Friday night when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State brought Bedlam to the Women’s College World Series.
For the Sooners it was a familiar opponent in a conference they’ve dominated for the better part of a decade now. For the Cowgirls it was the up-and-comers against the Titans they haven’t beaten in their last twenty-three tries.
Of course Bedlam itself brings a different type of pressure that could dwarf the the pressures of ESPN, a record-setting crowd (9,820), and the Women’s College World Series itself.
The top two programs in the Big 12 provided some fireworks in the opening frame, with OU scoring three runs off four hits and OSU getting on the board in the bottom half with an RBI single from Michaela Richbourg.
Fale Aviu sent an 0-1 pitch to the right field wall, for a one-out single, as the second batter of the game and then promptly moved to third on a wild pitch. Caleigh Clifton then drew a walk, and stole second, to set up Jocelyn Alo for a two-RBI single to right-center field. Alo then came home on an RBI single from Shay Knighten and just like that OU was up 3-0.
Not blinking at the early deficit. Rylee Bayless worked her way to a lead-off walk and came home on Richbourg’s single to put OSU on the board.
A pitcher’s duel developed after the opening frame with OU’s Giselle Juarez and OSU’s Samantha Show putting the breaks on the opposing offenses. Show only allowed one more hit after that opening frame and struck out two batters before being lifted with one out in the fifth.
Show was replaced by Logan Simunek, after a twenty minute delay due to a stadium light malfunction, and that’s when things went south for OSU. Nicole Mendes and Grace Green both singled in the inning but two hits by pitch and two walks resulted in three runs coming in and OU taking complete control with a 6-1 lead.
Juarez remained a force from the circle through the sixth inning. She didn’t record her first strike out until the seventh batter she faced but ended the night allowing just four hits, responsible for 1 run, and striking out 11 OSU batters.
Shannon Saile took the circle for OU in the seventh and didn’t allow a hit. She struck out the first two batters she faced and then got Sydney Springfield to ground out to third and end the game.
The 6-1 win earns OU a day off on Saturday. They’ll return to action in the Women’s College World Series on Sunday afternoon at 2:30.