OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Stanford got a sixth-inning home run from Lauren Lappin to tie the game, and Meghan Sickler tripled in the winning run as Stanford eliminated Oklahoma 3-2 in a Women’s College World Series game that finished Sunday after it was called Saturday night following the fifth inning due to severe weather in the Central Oklahoma area.
Having a game suspended until the next day has proven beneficial to the team that was trailing heading into the suspension, and it once again proved true as Stanford rallied from two runs down to keep its season alive. The game was the sixth to be suspended to the following day in WCWS history, and it was the fourth time in those six games that the trailing team scored two runs to rally for the win.
“I was proud of our team,” Stanford head coach John Rittman said. “We were very relaxed today. We talked last night about how we were going to win this game. If you are going to have success off of a good pitcher like Dana Sorensen or Kami Keiter, you have to get to them early.”
The Cardinal did not get to OU’s starter early in the game, as Keiter held the Stanford bats at bay through the first two frames. The Sooners did, however, get to Sorensen earlier, exploding to the early 2-0 edge in the opening inning.
Kristin Vesely got the inning started with a double, and she scored as the following hitter, Christina Enea, reached on a ball that got by Stanford first baseman Leah Nelson. Mariee Mena capped the inning and the OU scoring as she delivered a two-out single that plated Enea.
Following that scoring out-burst, Sorensen settled down and worked her way out of several jams. Oklahoma had runners in scoring position in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, but was unable to produce any additional runs.
Missed opportunities were the case for Oklahoma in the game as 11 runners were left on base, including seven in scoring position. During its WCWS run, the Sooners left 31 on base in three games.
The inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities gave the Cardinal the opportunity to make the rally Sunday and keep its season alive.
“It almost feels a little unfair because it happened so fast and a dream season came to an end,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “It’s the way of the weather. Stanford came out in the clutch. They got big hits and did a good job of coming out and attacking.”
The Cardinal did come through in the clutch Sunday morning, but it could have been a different scenario had Lappin’s bunt not gone just foul off the third base line.
“I knew that I was going to try and lay down a drag,” Lappin said. “That ball barely went foul. Coach (Rittman) told me to read the defense, so I was deciding whether to drag again or swing away, and right before she started her wind-up, I thought ‘Ok, hit away; get a base hit; find a hole.’ I guess I got a little adrenaline and got a hold of one.”
Lappin did get a hold of one, and it gave Stanford the adrenaline it needed to complete the comeback.
Jessica Allister followed and reached on an error by OU second baseman April Valdez. After Keiter recorded a couple of outs, Sickler laced a ball down the right field line and scored pinch runner Jacki Hansen with what proved to be the winning run.
“It’s frustrating because we felt that we had a slight advantage yesterday because Stanford had played a game earlier,” OU junior Heather Scaglione said. “We felt we had the momentum, but the weather had different plans.”
Oklahoma ends its season at 45-22-1, while Stanford (49-18) advances to face UCLA in a rematch of the tournament’s opening-round game that the Bruins won 8-2.
Notes from the Diamond
- OU and Stanford have now met on two occasions all-time with OU coming out on top in the only other meeting, an 8-0 victory at the 2000 NFCA Leadoff Classic.
- Sickler's triple for Stanford was her first of the year. It was her second hit of the game, giving her the first multi-hit WCWS game of her career and her second-straight contest with the game-winning RBI.
- The Cardinal's Lauren Lappin started the WCWS 0-for-5 but has four hits in her last five at-bats.
- Sophomore Mariee Mena led OU with nine RBIs in this year's NCAA Tournament. She was 5-for-10 with a pair of RBIs in the WCWS.
- OU left 25 runners on base in its final 16 innings of the season.