California Tops Oklahoma In Eight Innings, 2-1
May 28, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY (SoonerSports.com) - An errant eighth-inning throw by Kristin Vesely and numerous missing offensive opportunities cost the Oklahoma softball team in a 2-1 loss to Cal on Friday evening at the ASA Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium. The loss drops the Sooners into the loser's bracket in the Women's College World Series where they will face the winner of fourth-seeded Michigan and seventh-seeded Stanford at 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening. The Sooners game will be aired on ESPN.
The Sooners put six runners on base in the first three frames, including loading the bases in the second frame, but couldn't push anything across. Three of those runners were plunked by Cal starter Kristina Thorson, who doubled her season total (6) in hit by pitches in the first two innings. On the game OU stranded 10 bases runners.
Cal struck first when leadoff hitter Vicky Galindo slapped a home run that just cleared the left field fence in the third inning.
After sending the Sooners down in order in the fourth inning, Thorson got herself into a jam by hitting her fourth batter (Norrelle Dickson for the second time) and giving up a single to the next batter, Kristin Vesely.
Then the Bears defense cost Cal the lead.
Thorson got the Big 12's top hitter, Heather Scaglione, to ground into a fielder's choice and got Christina Enea, who is hitting .583 since the start of regionals, to ground to short. That grounder didn't result in an out though. Instead it was booted by Cal shortstop Chelsea Spencer to load the bases.
Thorson clutched up and struck out the next batter (Jessica Leslie), which was followed by an attempted pick off to second base by Bear catcher Haley Woods. Woods' throw sailed into center field and Vesely was able to score and tie up the game at 1-1.
A one-out double by Kami Keiter in the sixth inning chased Thorson from the game. Junior Kelly Anderson relieved her and forced Norrelle Dickson and Vesely into inning-ending ground outs.
The game went one extra inning before Vesely, who ironically scored OU's one unearned run, had a throwing error that ended the game.
A leadoff walk, bunt single and error at third by Dickson loaded the bases for Cal with no outs in the bottom of the eight. Keiter got Eldredge to line out to Vesely in center field. The runner did not attempt to tag up, but would score easily on an errant throw to second base by the sophomore. Vesely appeared to be trying to double off the runner at second base but her throw sailed over Katie Overton's head.
Cal also eliminated the Sooners with a final-inning rally in the 2003 WCWS. Last year it was two runs in the top of the seventh that did in OU by a score of 3-1.
Kami Keiter was the hardluck loser falling to 22-14 on the year and 8-4 in the postseason. Keiter allowed one earned run and struck out four in route her 30th complete game of the year.
The Sooners defeated Michigan 4-0 when they met on Feb. 29 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic (Columbus, Ga.). OU has an all-time record of 5-10 against the Wolverines, while they have won the program's only meeting with Stanford. The two teams square off in Saturday's first game, which will be aired at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.
Michigan lost its WCWS opener to LSU by a score of 3-2 in 13 innings. Stanford fell into the loser's bracket after getting thumped 8-2 by UCLA.
If OU can win its night game tomorrow they will advance to play second-seeded UCLA on Sunday. In that case, the Sooners would have to defeat the Bruins twice to reach Monday's championship game.