‘Elimination Saturday’ at the Women’s College World Series

Arizona State College Softball

‘Elimination Saturday’ at the Women’s College World Series

OKLAHOMA CITY –  It’s ‘Elimination Saturday’ at the Women’s College World Series, with either South Florida or LSU becoming the first team eliminated in the first of four games, starting at 11 a.m. (Central Standard Time).

Making their first appearance in the WCWS, USF lost its opener to OU while LSU lost to California in opening games Thursday. Following LSU and USF, Tennessee will oppose Oregon at (1:30 pm.) in another elimination game.

Two more elimination games are scheduled Saturday evening with Arizona State, which lost 2-1 to Alabama Friday night, facing the winner of the South Florida-LSU game, and at 8:30 when California will oppose the winner of the Tennessee-Oregon game. California lost to Oklahoma, 3-0, behind the two-hit, 16 strikeout pitching of Keilani Ricketts on Friday evening. Despite losing and being shutout for only the third time this season, California coach Diane Ninemire wasn’t upset about the way her team had to play Saturday. “Actually, I’m kind of glad we have to play (Saturday) because I think it would be worse sitting for a full day thinking about it. Now we know we have to be prepared and face a team we’ve already faced this year, Tennessee or Oregon.” Cal beat Tennessee 13-5 to open its season and won two of three games against Oregon, winning 8-1 and 10-6 (6) and losing 1-0.

California has to win three games in two days to advance to the best-of-three series. While California was preparing for another game, OU Head Coach Patty Gasso and her Sooners will spend part of their day supporting an ulcertative colitis walk. “Jessica Shults (who has battled the ailment) has been bothering me for three months about it,” said Gasso. “I said, ‘We’re going to be playing.’ She goes, ‘No, we’re not going to be playing that day.’” Shults was correct and the Sooners are one win away from advancing from the best-of-three series.

Gasso said “the team has decided to go out and support the cause and maybe walk a mile. We don’t want to waste the day walking too hard but it’s completely in support of Jessica Shults.” Gasso also extended Sooner hospitality to three of the teams, Tennessee, South Florida and LSU, when afternoon rain showers on Friday forced teams to find alternate fields to practice on a day set aside for the winner’s bracket. All of the teams practiced at the OU Softball Complex. “They asked us and we hooked them up,” Gasso said. “I don’t want to see anybody struggle. I respect all the coaches and the programs that are here and would absolutely do anything I can to help out.”

Saturday’s night games are already sold-out with standing room only tickets on sale beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets were still available for the afternoon games.