Game 1 did not go Alabama’s way but the Crimson Tide played a solid game and made the top-seeded Sooners earn their win.
The Tide seemed to have some first inning jitters as starting pitcher Montana Fouts allowed singles to the first two Sooners she faced, plus a rare stolen base. Oklahoma would score one before Fouts settled in. She also gave up single runs in the third and fifth but struck out five and pitched a respectable game. She even struck out All-World Sydney Romero, who had gone down on strikes only eight times prior this season.
All-American Giselle Juarez (W, 27-1) was in the circle for Okie and was good but not great. The two earned runs she gave up to Alabama were only the second and third yielded by her since April 26. Doing most of the damage for the Tide was Claire Jenkins who had been mired in a funk for several weeks. On Thursday night, the senior recorded two hits which matches her total from the last 20 games. She led off the third with a single and would eventually score the Tide’s first run on a Bailey Hemphill single. In the fifth, Jenkins again led of with a hit but this one was a no-doubt H-bomb that was deposited in the left field stands.
It was the first dinger Juarez had given up in over a month. For the record, Jenkins third at-bat was a missile but hit right at the third baseman.
Left-handed hitters KB Sides and Kaylee Tow struggled against the Sooners’ Southpaw pitcher. Sides struck out three times, while Tow fanned twice and stranded four base runners. Hemphill kept her on-base streak alive with a single and an intentional walk. Elissa Brown recorded the only other Alabama hit and reached on an error coaxed by her speed down the line.
Alabama moves to the losers’ bracket which means they cannot afford to lose any more games. They will face Kelly Barnhill and the Florida Gators on Saturday 12:30pm CT on ESPN. As always, all Bama games can be heard on 93.3 FM as well.
#6 Arizona 3, #3 Washington 1
#2 UCLA 7, #7 Minnesota 2
#13 Oklahoma State 2, #5 Florida 1
Game 5: #6 Arizona 3 vs #2 UCLA, 5pm ESPN
Game 6: #13 Oklahoma State vs #1 Oklahoma, 7:30pm ESPN