The Oklahoma Sooner women’s softball team advanced to the Championship Series of the Women’s College World Series with a 4-2, extra-inning, win over ninthseeded Stanford Monday afternoon in the semifinal round at USA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Junior Tiare Jennings, who turned 21 on Monday, celebrated her birthday with the biggest hit of her college career with a goahead 2-run double in the top of the ninth inning.
Jennings’ go-ahead extra-base hit broke a 2-2 deadlock then sophomore Jordy Bahl retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to put the top-ranked Sooners into the Championship Series, which is slated to begin Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Oklahoma will play the winner of Monday’s other semifinal game between thirdseeded Florida State and fourth-seeded Tennessee, who were scheduled to play Monday evening.
The Sooners began their WCWS journey last Thursday with a 2–0 win over Stanford with the only runs coming in the fifth inning.
Oklahoma advanced to Monday’s semifinal contest with a 9-0, runrule, win over Tennessee this past Saturday in the winner’s side of the doub le-elimination tournament.
In last Thursday’s first-round win over Stanford, the lone Sooner runs came in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by leadoff hitter Jayda Coleman. Alynah Torres began the 2-run fifth with a one-out single to left-center field. Rylie Boone put runners at first and second with a 2-out single to left, then Coleman drove in pinch-runner Avery Hodge, who ran for Torres, to give the Sooners a 1-0 advantage. Boone scored when the Stanford misplayed Coleman’s base hit, scoring the second Oklahoma run of the inning on the defensive miscue.
The Oklahoma defense kept the Cardinal off the scoreboard in the final two innings to award the Sooners with the openinground shutout victory.
The first four and one-half innings featured a scoreless pitching duel between Oklahoma’s Jordy Bahl and Stanford’s NiJarra Canaday.
Bahl earned the pitching win, tossing a complete-game, 5-hit shutout, striking out 11 and walking one in seven innings of work.
In Saturday’s winner’s bracket win over Tennessee, the Sooners opened the scoring in the bottom of the second on a 3-run home run by Tiare Jennings.
Oklahoma then erupted for six runs in the home half of the third to extend its lead to 9-0 after three innings of action. In the 6-run third, Kinzie Hanson began the frame with a one-out, 2-run home run. Rylie Boone’s 2-run triple made it a 7-0 contest, while the final two Sooner runs in the frame came across on wild pitches.
Tennessee threatened in both the fourth and fifth innings, but the Sooner defense kept the Lady Vols off the scoreboard to end the game on the runrule in the fifth inning.
In Monday’s semifinal contest, Stanford began the scoring on Monday with a 2-run home run by Kylie Chung in the bottom of the first. Chung’s home run was the first runs allowed by Oklahoma pitching in the first 12 innings of the WCWS.
Oklahoma broke onto the scoreboard in the top of the second with an RBI sac fly by Alynah Torres, then Jayda Coleman deadlocked the score at 2-2 with a leadoff solo home run to center field in the Sooners’ half of the third.
Neither team was able to produce any runs in the final three and one-half innings of regulation to send the game to extra innings with the score deadlocked at 2-2.
Both teams threatened in the eighth, putting runners at first and second with no outs. Both pitchers got out of the early jams by retiring the next three hitters in each half of the inning to send the semifinal game to the ninth with the score still deadlocked at 2-2.
In the decisive top of the ninth, Grace Lyons began the inning with a double to left. With two outs and Lyons at third, Stanford decided to intentionally walk Coleman to put runners at first and second and Jennings stepping to the plate.
Jennings drove an 02 curveball from Stanford ace NiJarra Canaday, who entered with one on and no outs in the top of the fifth, into the gap in right-center field, scoring Lyons easily from third with Coleman sliding in safely without a throw to give the Sooners the 4-2 advantage.
Oklahoma ace Jordy Bahl, who entered with one on and no outs in the bottom of the sixth, retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, with the final hitter flying out to Boone in left, to secure the 4-2, extra-inning, victory.
The starting pitchers for each team – Nicole May for Oklahoma and Alana Vawter for Stanford – were awarded no-decisions in the extra-inning contest. May worked five-plus innings in the circle for the Sooners before giving way to Bahl, while Vawter went four-plus innings for Stanford before handing over the pitching duties to Canaday.