"I feel like we had a little uncharacteristic approach tonight," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "I know that we're a better offensive team. We hit a few balls hard. We had a couple of opportunities."
The Sooners (50-12) saw their five-game winning streak at the WCWS come to a close as they were unable to solve Alabama starter Jaclyn Traina. In addition to Pendley’s hit, OU walked five times, but Traina recorded nine strikeouts to quiet the Oklahoma bats.
"We had a plan and it didn't get executed," junior Lauren Chamberlain said. "We were defensive, but we knew what we had to do. It just wasn't clicking."
With the loss, Oklahoma now moves to an elimination game against sixth-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2. OU played a three-game series at Lafayette in March, winning once.
The Sooners struck first Thursday, opening the scoring in the top of the inning.
With two outs, junior Shelby Pendley found herself with a hitter’s count at 3-1. She then took a pitch from Alabama starter Jaclyn Traina and drove it the opposite way for a solo home run. The blast was her fifth of the 2014 postseason and her team-best 18th of the season.
Alabama tied things at 1-1 in the second, but OU starter Kelsey Stevens showed resolve to prevent further damage.
Kaila Hunt led off with a walk after a 10-pitch at-bat. Molly Fichtner then singled to left field, while an errant throw on a pickoff attempt allowed both runners to move into scoring position. Following an 11-pitch at-bat, Marisa Runyon dropped a single that landed on the right field line to bring home the tying run.
With runners on the corners and no one out, Stevens caught a soft pop-up and then struck out the next two batters to keep the score even.
Oklahoma regained the lead at 2-1 in the fourth without recording a hit thanks to a walk and pair of Alabama errors.
Sophomore Erin Miller drew her second walk of the game with two outs. Junior Callie Parsons then hit a grounder to the hole at shortstop. Danae Hays tried to get the force at second but her throw pulled second baseman Kaila Hunt off the bag.
With runners on first and second and senior Javen Henson batting, Parsons strayed too far from first on a pitch, prompting a pickoff attempt by Crimson Tide catcher Molly Fichtner. Parsons took off for second and the throw by first baseman Leona Lafaele was wide and went into left field, enabling Miller to score all the way from second base.
The lead would not last long though as Peyton Grantham hit a three-run homer to left center with one out in the fourth to put the Crimson Tide on top at 4-2.
"I credit them for answering anything we tried to put out there, but we didn't put anything out there," Gasso said. "We're a better team than that. I think myself and the entire team was disappointed with our offensive approach tonight. I guess the best way to say it is we were playing defense on offense and we're better than that."
Alabama added to its lead in the fifth when Jadyn Spencer lined a two-run homer to left center to push the lead to 6-2.
|W - Traina (24-3)||7.0||1||2||1||5||9|
|L - Stevens (37-9)||4.1||7||6||5||1||5|
|S - None||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|OU - Pendley||3||1||1||1||0||1|
|BAMA - Grantham||2||1||1||3||1||1|
/// SoonerSports PR