Oklahoma Headed to Fourth Straight WCWS

Oklahoma Headed to Fourth Straight WCWS

NORMAN, Okla -- Just when it looked bad for the Oklahoma Sooners, standout slugger Lauren Chamberlain  gave the Sooner Nation some Sooner Magic in leading OU to their fourth consecutive trip to the College World Series, which starts next Thursday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Sooners (50-11) will play Alabama, the 2012 national champion, in their opening game in the WCWS on Thursday in a meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 finishers from the 2012 WCWS. Alabama defeated Nebraska, 6-5 in 12 innings and 2-1 in the Super Regional to advance to the World Series for the ninth time.

It's also the ninth trip to the WCWS for the Sooners, who fell behind early against Tennessee, 1-0, when left fielder Destinee Martinez dropped Haley Tobler's fly ball in the second inning with two outs. The normally sure-handed Martinez appeared to take her eye off the ball and the miscue, only the third she has made this season and eighth of her outstanding career, allowed Megan Geer to score the first run of the game and put the Lady Vols in front.  Geer was hit by a pitch thrown by OU right-hander Kelsey Stevens and soon afterward stole second before Tober's routine fly ball.  Tobler never got past first base, however, when OU catcher Whitney Ellis threw to shortstop Georgia Casey on a steal attempt for the third out to end the inning.

Now trailing 1-0 before eventually winning 8-2, OU loaded the bases in the bottom half of the second on a pair of singles and a hit batter, but the Sooners couldn't get the key hit it needed to bring any runs across. Lauren Chamberlain, who has been playing with a partially torn PCL in her right knee, gave the Sooner faithful something to cheer about when she led off the third inning with a solo homer off Ellen Renfroe over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1. It was her 11th of the season. One of the first players out of the dugout to greet Chamberlain at home plate was Martinez, who had come up with the bases loaded in the second inning and grounded out for the third out on top of making the error. Martinez was emotionally upset over not coming through with a key hit and making the error, but Chamberlain washed away her tears with her 71st homer of her career. OU added another run in the inning on an RBI single by Erin Miller up the middle, scoring Brittany Williams who was aboard on a walk. Chamberlain has adapted to her injury and has shifted her power to her front to keep pressure off the back foot. Chamberlain suffered her injury May 10th against arch-rival Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam Series.

Now trailing 2-1, the Lady Vols tied the game at 2-2  when Melissa Davin lined the first pitch in the top of the fourth from Kelsey Stevens  over left field for her 14th homer of the season. It would be the last time the game was tied. The Sooners took the lead for good in the fourth and loaded the bases before Shelby Pendley crossed up the defense by squeezing home Martinez with a perfect drag bunt to give the Sooners a 3-2 lead.

The Sooners added another run in the fifth when Javen Henson hit a one-out solo homer into the left field bleachers to expand the lead to two runs, 4-2. The Sooners, who had their 16-game consecutive win streak ended by the Lady Vols Saturday night, 4-0, despite out-hitting Tennessee 5-3, put the game away in the sixth inning by scoring four runs. Chamberlain led off the inning with her second homer of the game, which hit the scoreboard in left field, sending Renfroe to the bench in favor of Erin Gabriel. Pendley followed with a single before Brittany Williams unloaded for a two-run blast for her 14th homer of the season. The homer by Chamberlain was the 72nd of her career, which is 10th on the all-time NCAA career homer list with Chamberlain having another season ahead of her needing only 19 to break the all-time career homer record of 90 held by former UCLA slugger, Stacy Neveman, who is an assistant coach at San Diego State. But the Sooners weren't done, however, as Georgia Casey, who was hitless in three earlier trips to the plate, followed Williams with a solo blast over left field for her 13th homer of the season. After Casey's homer, Gabriel was replaced by Renfroe, who finished the inning and completed the season 30-8, hurling six innings allowing 10 hits and five runs. The Sooners collected 13 hits and hit seven homers in the three Super Regional games. This if necessary game started 13 minutes late, but it was nothing like the first two games which took 11:48 minutes to complete because of lightning delays. Tennessee finished the year 46-12 and was trying to win its seventh consecutive Super Regional. The Lady Vols collected only three hits off winning pitcher Stevens, 37-8, who mixed her pitches well, not allowing the Lady Vols to get on top of the ball, hitting either groundouts or pop-ups. Stevens fanned five and walked two in her complete game performance.