WCWS: Oregon and Washington eliminated in semis
The Pac-12's run at a national championship in softball has come to a close, as Oregon and Washington were eliminated in the semifinals of the Women's College World Series on Sunday afternoon. Defending-champion Oklahoma will play top-seeded Florida in the championship series beginning Monday in Oklahoma City. Below are game recaps from Sunday's action:
Women's College World Series semifinals: No. 10 seed Oklahoma 4, No. 3 seed Oregon 2
Oklahoma became the first team to produce a comeback victory at the 2017 Women's College World Series, erasing a 2-0 deficit to defeat Oregon 4-2 and move on to the WCWS finals, setting up a championship series between the Sooners and Gators, winners of the last four national championships.
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 4, 2017
Oregon got a nobody-on, two-out rally going in the fifth inning with a Jenna Lilley single setting the table for a Danica Mercado two-run homer to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. However, Oregon pitcher Megan Kleist was unable to get a shutdown inning, as the Sooners chased Kleist with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. The fifth started with Lea Wodach reaching base on a throwing error by Oregon catcher Gwen Svekis that allowed her to take second base. Wodach's pinch runner, Raegan Rogers, eventually came home on an RBI fielder's choice by Nicole Mendes to cut Oregon's lead to 2-1. The Sooners took a 3-2 lead on a Shay Knighten two-run single and got some insurance with an RBI double down the right field line by Nicole Pendley.
Oregon was unable to threaten the Sooners the rest of the way, going down in order in the sixth and seventh innings.
[Related highlights: Oregon softball falls late to Oklahoma to end WCWS run]
Oklahoma pitcher Paige Parker picked up the win, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out four Ducks in five innings of work. Paige Lowary came on in relief for the final two innings, retiring all six batters she faced.
Kleist, who had a terrific Saturday for the Ducks with a save in the win over Baylor and a nine-strikeout start against LSU, gave up two earned runs and four runs overall in 4.2 innings in the circle for head coach Mike White before giving way to Miranda Elish.
Oregon threatened in the top of the third with a leadoff double by Lauren Lindvall but was unable to get her any closer to home.
The Sooners had chances to strike earlier in the game, getting runners on the corners with one out in the first and runners on second and third with two outs in the second, but came up empty both times.
Knighten was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Kelsey Arnold also had a 2-for-3 day at the plate to lead the Sooners, while five different Ducks tallied a hit against Sooner pitching.
Oregon, which started the season on a 35-game win streak, finishes the 2017 campaign at 54-8. This was the Ducks' fourth trip to the Women's College World Series in the last six years and fifth all-time appearance in the WCWS.
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) June 4, 2017
Women's College World Series semifinals: No. 1 seed Florida 5, No. 6 seed Washington 2
A late seventh-inning rally was not enough for the Huskies, as Delanie Gourley threw a two-hitter to lead top-seeded Florida into the Women's College World Series finals by defeating Washington 5-2 Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City. The Gators will either Oklahoma in the championship series beginning Monday.
Trailing 5-0 entering the seventh, Julia DePonte hit a two-run homer with two outs after Taylor Van Zee reached base on an error on a muffed throw by first baseman Kayli Kvistad that would have ended the game. However, Gourley ended the Washington threat by getting Trysten Melhart to ground out to first.
Gourley was nearly untouchable in the circle, allowing only a bunt single to Van Zee in the second and a walk to Casey Stangel in the fourth before the seventh inning. Gourley, who has now gone 60.1 innings without giving up an earned run dating back to April, struck out 10 Huskies to set the new 2017 WCWS high after Oregon's Megan Kleist struck out nine hitters in the Ducks' 4-1 win over LSU Saturday night.
Delanie Gourley spins her 10th strikeout of the game! pic.twitter.com/5Co8p9XnUq
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 4, 2017
At the plate, the Gators got to Washington starter Taran Alvelo early and often, chasing the First Team All-Pac-12 pitcher in the second inning after she gave up four runs on five hits and three walks. Kvistad went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Florida, as her solo home run in the first gave the SEC champions a 1-0 lead and her two-run single put the Gators up 4-0 in the second. Florida's other run came in the fifth on Janell Wheaton's RBI single up the middle.
Madi Schreyer put for a solid effort in relief for the Huskies, conceding just one run on two hits in 4.2 innings in the circle for head coach Heather Tarr. Samantha Manti also pitched a scoreless inning for the Huskies.
With the loss, the Huskies wrap up their 2017 campaign with a 50-14 record and a 12th appearance in the WCWS.
— UW Softball (@UWSoftball) June 4, 2017