OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — An eighth-inning error put California a win away from a third-straight appearance in the Women’s College World Series title game with an eight-inning, 2-1 win over Oklahoma Friday evening in front of a majority OU crowd here at Hall of Fame Stadium.
The game was a rematch of last year’s WCWS match-up in which the Golden Bears eliminated the Sooners with a 5-2 victory.
“It was a fantastic game,” California head coach Diane Ninemire said. “It was another tough game between California and Oklahoma. We have had some dogfights out there. Both teams came out wanting to win this game. I’m really proud of the effort that my players came out with today.”
Vicky Galindo did the damage to the Sooners in this year’s match up as she scored both of Cal’s runs in the game, including a solo home run in the bottom of the third that put the Bears up 1-0.
“I was going for a double. I didn’t think it was going over,” Galindo said. “I think she threw me a rise ball outside and I just got under it.”
Despite matching her season total with three hit batsmen, Kristina Thorson was able to keep the Sooners out of the scoring column until the top of the fifth when Kristin Vesely singled to left and scored a few batters later as California catcher Haley Woods’ attempted pickoff at second base sailed into center field, allowing Vesely to trot in from third.
“We played hard,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “Kami (Keiter) pitched extremely well. We win as a team; we lose as a team. That’s the way it’s been from the start and that’s the way it will be when it finishes. We had opportunities, but we couldn’t cash in. It was a well-played game between two teams that are after the same goal.”
Thorson gave way to Kelly Anderson, and the junior picked up where Thorson left off by limiting the Sooners to just one hit in two and two-thirds innings of work.
The outstanding effort by Anderson, who moved her record to 24-8 with the win, countered a solid complete-game performance from Keiter. She dropped her record to 21-14, as she was touched for two runs, one earned, on four hits in the complete-game outing.
“I feel like we were tough on defense the whole time, and it just came down to the last inning,” Keiter said. “It was a hard-fought battle both ways.”
The one unearned run was a big one as it decided the final outcome of the game. Galindo, who ended up 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, walked to leadoff the frame. After Lindsay James laid down a bunt single to put runners at second and third, Woods got on via an error by OU third baseman Norrelle Dickson to load the bases. Kaleo Eldredge followed and hit a line shot to center field, and Vesely’s throw went wide of second base and escaped into foul territory down the first base line to score Galindo with the winning run.
“I was going on the hit,” Galindo said. “Once I saw the ball in the air I had to get back. I didn’t see what the centerfielder did, but when I saw that the ball got away and was on the ground, I knew I was going.”
The Sooners face the Michigan/Stanford winner Saturday at 5:30 p.m., while Cal advances to take on either Washington, Florida State or LSU.
Notes from the Diamond
- Cal leads the series with Oklahoma 10-3, including a 3-1 mark versus the Sooners at the WCWS.
- Oklahoma’s Christina Enea extended her hitting streak to eight games.
- The Golden Bears’ Jessica Pamanian recorded her ninth stolen base of the season, giving Cal 99 steals on the season.
- Galindo has now hit safely in the last 10 games.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nebraska state champion Papillion-LaVista finished No. 1 in the NFCA Fall High School Top 25 Coaches Poll.