Sooners, Volunteers Remain Undefeated in WCWS


Sooners, Volunteers Remain Unbeaten in WCWS

 OKLAHOMA CITY - The two winner’s bracket games in the Women’s College World Series were as different as night and day, but in the end the Tennessee Volunteers and the Oklahoma Sooners came away with victories to remain undefeated in the eight-team field, which will start eliminating teams Saturday evening.

The two winner’s bracket games, which were rescheduled to Saturday because of severe weather, had Tennessee end a frustrating opening game with a 1-0 win over Washington (44-16) while the Oklahoma Sooners found themselves trailing 2-0 against arch rival Texas before exploding for six runs in the bottom of the third en route to a run-rule 10-2 win. Both the Huskies and Sooners won’t play again until Sunday night while the remaining six teams battle it out in the loser’s bracket to determine the opponents for the Sooners and Huskies.

In the opening game, Tennessee overcome its lack of not being able to capitalize after getting runners on by scoring the winning run on  a two-out walk-off single up the middle by Tory Lewis. Lewis finished the game 3-for-4 while driving in the game’s only run. Teammates Lauren Gibson and Cheyanne Tarango also went 2-for-3 for the Lady Vols, who will play 6 pm. Sunday. Before Lewis ended the game, the Lady Vols had left 13 runners on base  (15 overall) including loading the bases in the first, second, and fourth inning, but were unable to score a run against losing pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby (23-8), who went the distance and allowed nine hits, striking out three and walking three.

Winning pitcher Ellen Renfroe improved her record in the WCWS to 2-0 and her overall season record to 19-4 by limiting the Huskies to two singles. Washington left only three runners on base with the other runner getting on because of an error by the Tennessee third baseman and never got a runner to second base. Renfroe fanned 10 batters and walked none in her complete game performance. Tennessee will now play Sunday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Game 9, which pits the winner of today’s Game 7 (Nebraska vs. Florida) against Texas.

Tennessee’s Cheyanne Tarango started the bottom of the seventh off with an infield single to the shortstop and was replaced on first by senior Whitney Hammond who then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Melissa Brown. After Rainey Gaffin  drew a walk to put runners on first and second, Hannah Akamine laced a liner right back at Inglesby, which the pitcher caught, and in an attempt to end the inning threw to first to try and double off Gaffin. Instead the ball went errant and Hammond advanced to third base setting up Lewis' walk-off winner.

Lewis said she was “really pumped up today, staying really focusing and know that I had to get the ball through the infield. I guess everybody had to be safe in that at-bat. They just told me we needed to score this run and everybody needed to be safe. So everybody needed to be safe on this play so get the ball through the infield. I started celebrating before I got to first base. And Marc (Weekly) at first base was like touch the base, touch the base. It felt amazing.”

“I thought we played a great game,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said. “We dealt with some things that, I think, a lot of teams would have folded with, with regards to a really tight strike zone. So be it. That’s what it was. I thought Kaitlin Inglesby threw a great game and threw obviously well enough for us to win. Unfortunately, offensively, we couldn’t string anything together.”

OU, which trailed Michigan 1-0 its opening game before coming on to win the game with a big inning, did the same thing against the Longhorns who tallied twice in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Brejae Washington and a bases loaded walk to Kim Bruins against winning pitcher Keilani Ricketts. Ricketts collected her second win of the tourney and increased her overall record to 33-1, limiting the Longhorns to three hits in the five inning game. She fanned two and walked four.

OU, now 54-4, left four runners on base through the first two innings before unloading on losing pitcher Blaire Luna in the third inning, scoring six times on three hits, then adding three runs in the fourth inning and putting the game into the record book on a run-rule on Georgia Casey’s RBI double in the fifth scoring Lauren Chamberlain who had tripled. Luna pitched two innings, allowing three hits and four runs. She struck out two and walked five before Kim Bruins relieved her in the six-run third inning. Bruins hurled one and two thirds, allowing four hits and five runs. Holly Kern hurled one-third of an inning, allowing two hits and one run.  Freshman Callie Parsons led the offense with three RBIs on a two-for-three performance with Destinee Martinez also going two-for-three for the Sooners who won their seventh post-season game in a row this season and 10th game in a row overall.  OU is now 13-12 in the WCWS in its eighth appearance.