Alabama drops first game in WCWS Championship series, 4-1
The Alabama softball team entered uncharted territory on Monday night. The Tide had a game to play against Oklahoma in the championship series of the Women’s College World Series. A win and Alabama would be one win away from a national championship. A loss and the Tide’s back would be against the wall in crucial second game on Tuesday.
The Tide fought valiantly but couldn’t get enough going against the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and USA Softball Player of the Year, Keilani Ricketts. She entered the game with an ERA of 0.99, and she showed just how dominant she was on Monday night. Oklahoma downed the Tide 4-1 behind Rickett’s phenomenal pitching and a few costly mistakes by Alabama.
The Sooners quickly reached base in the top of the first inning against Traina but failed to score any runs. When the Tide came to bat in the bottom half of the inning, Ricketts was quick to display her dominance. She struck out the side and the Sooners returned to the batter’s box in the top of the second inning.
Oklahoma left six more runners on base between the second, third and fourth innings. When Alabama finally seemed to figure Ricketts out a bit, the Tide knew it had to capitalize. Jackie Traina opened the bottom of the fourth inning with a single, and senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia was hit by a pitch.
Both batters advanced on a wild pitch, and the Tide suddenly had runners in scoring position. After an Amanda Locke strike out, senior Kendall Dawson hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Traina from third base, and the Tide took a 1-0 lead to the fifth inning.
It didn’t take long for Oklahoma to answer. A leadoff walk and Keilani Ricketts single put the pressure on Traina to get out of another jam. The Sooners scored two runs in the inning on a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice to take a 2-1 lead.
Alabama couldn’t get enough going to crawl back into the game. The Sooners added two more runs in the sixth inning and Ricketts closed the door in the seventh inning. Ricketts struck out 12 batters over the course of the evening.
The Tide now faces a pivotal second game on Tuesday that will either give the Tide life or secure a championship for Oklahoma. The second game of the series is set to begin at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.
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