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2001 Women's College World Series: Day Three

For complete information on the 2001 Women's College World Series,  click here.

Jennifer Schuelke scored on a throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning to lead LSU to a dramatic 2-1 victory over Oklahoma, eliminating the defending national champions. Kelli Braitsch led off the game with a home run in the top of the first inning to give Oklahoma a 1-0 lead. Britni Sneed recorded 19 strikeouts and held the Sooners scoreless after Braitsch's lead off home run. Sneed recorded four consecutive strikeouts in the second and third innings and struck out the side in the eighth inning. Jennifer Stewart retired the first 12 batters she faced before Christy Connor singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Pinch-runner Sara Fitzgerald moved to second on Erin Johnson's ground out and scored on Julie Wiese's two-out single to tie the game 1-1. LSU had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh as Connor and Trena Peel led off with back-to-back singles. But Stewart got Johnson to fly out, then struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning. Stewart finished with eight strikeouts. The Tigers also threatened in the 10th inning when Jennifer Schuelke doubled with two outs and pinch-hitter Auburne Ziober hit an infield single, but Braitsch threw Schuelke out at the plate to end the inning. Oklahoma also threatened, putting runners on base in four of the last five innings. The Sooners loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 11th, but Sneed struck out the last two batters to end the inning. Oklahoma left 10 runners on base -- eight after the eighth inning. In the bottom of the 13th inning, Schuelke reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on Aleshia Perry's sacrifice. Pinch-hitter Ashley Lewis followed with a two-out grounder to Braitsch at shortstop, but Braitsch's throw went wide of the target, allowing Schuelke to score the game-winner. Both teams finished with eight hits. Christy Ring accounted for half of Oklahoma's hits, going 4-for-4. LSU advances to face UCLA Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

LSU COACH YVETTE GIROUARD: "It was an incredible day for the Tigers. What a game for college softball. It was a great game to be involved in."

LSU PITCHER BRITNI SNEED: "Tonight was strictly adrenaline. Everyone was hurting after the 10th inning."

LSU PINCH-HITTER ASHLEY LEWIS: "Coach just said 'Get a bat,' so I got a bat. It was going to come down to who got lucky."

OKLAHOMA COACH PATTY GASSO: "We laid it out on the field. We laid our heart and soul there. We played in two of the greatest games in World Series history. People might remember that we were on the short end, but they'll remember how we played."

OKLAHOMA PITCHER JENNIFER STEWART on Kelli Braitsch: "She's an amazing shortstop and I know she's going to be on the next Olympic team."

California pitchers Nicole DiSalvio and Jocelyn Forest combined to hold the powerful Stanford offense to a single hit, but the Cardinal pushed across an unearned run in the second inning that held up for a 1-0 win. Stanford's Jessica Allister led off the second inning with a walk and was replaced on the bases by pinch-runner Jessica Draemel. Draemel was sacrificed to second by Jenni Shideler and scored on a Cal error. Stanford's only hit was a first-inning, leadoff single by Robin Walker. Dana Sorensen pitched the first five innings for Stanford before being relieved by Jaime Forman-Lau in the sixth. The two combined for a four-hitter, with all four hits charged to Sorensen in her five-inning starting stint. Stanford advances to tomorrow's 11 a.m. (CDT) game against Arizona and needs to beat the Wildcats twice tomorrow to advance to Monday's championship game. California is eliminated from the tournament.

STANFORD COACH JOHN RITTMAN: "It was a great win for us. Two rivals going at it in the series. You couldn't ask for a better game. Fortunately, the game is not decided on who has the most hits. Dana Sorensen stepped it up and gave it everything she had for five innings. Hats off to Cal's pitchers. Jocelyn Forest came in and did an awesome job for them. This was kind of a throwback game. We won with one run, great pitching and great defense."

CAL COACH DIANE NINEMIRE: "We're disappointed. We thought we had a real shot at beating Stanford but it just wasn't to be. Our first inning hurt us, when we had bases loaded and couldn't get the key hit. We've gone through a lot of adversity this year but we never hung our heads. I'm very proud of this team."

Julie Wiese's fifth-inning two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and right fielder Trena Peel's throw to third base for the final out of the game preserved the victory as LSU held on to defeat Iowa 2-1. Iowa pitcher Kristi Hanks held LSU to one hit through four innings and had retired 11 consecutive batters before Erin Johnson doubled with one out in the fifth. Wiese then followed with a home run to left, just out of the reach of Erin Doud, to put the Tigers on top 2-0. LSU's defense withstood a number of Iowa threats, throwing out two runners at the plate in the first four innings. Iowa made one last threat in the bottom of the seventh as Hanks led off with a pinch-hit single and Kristin Johnson's one-out single moved pinch-runner Melissa Stuber to third. One out later, Alicia Gerlach singled to right field, but the game ended when Peel fired a strike to third base to nail Johnson for the final out. Iowa left eight runners on base, including six in the final four innings. The win is the first ever in the WCWS for LSU, which is making its first ever appearance. The Tigers advance to play Oklahoma tonight at 8:30 p.m. in an elimination game. Iowa is eliminated from the championship.

LSU COACH YVETTE GIROUARD: "I challenged my team to be the No. 2 "home favorite" at the World Series. Oklahoma's the home favorite. The way we played today, I think we won a lot of hearts."

LSU PITCHER ASHLEY LEWIS: "It was a great defensive effort and that's what a pitcher needs."

IOWA COACH GAYLE BLEVINS: "That was a very fine ballgame. My first comments to the kids was I apologized for poor coaching today. I'm very proud of this team. We overcame a lot this year."

IOWA LEFT FIELDER ERIN DOUD on Julie Wiese's home run: "It came within an inch of my glove. I came as close as I could without flipping over the fence."

California took advantage of timely hitting and four Michigan errors to post a 5-2 come-from-behind win over Michigan. The Wolverines opened the scoring in the fourth inning when Melissa Taylor led off with a bunt single and Stefanie Volpe followed with her fourth home run of the season to give Michigan a 2-0 lead. Cal came back in the bottom of the fourth to score when Amber Phillips was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Golden Bears took the lead in the fifth on \Candace Harper's sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Courtney Scott. Cal added two insurance runs in the sixth on Pauline Duenas' RBI single and a Michigan error. Cal's Veronica Nelson added to her NCAA Division I leading walk total of 92 after being passed four times, twice intentionally. Cal's next game will be an elimination bracket contest agianst Pac-10 rival Stanford at 6 p.m. CDT. Michigan is the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.

CALIFORNIA COACH DIANE NINEMIRE: "This was a great win for us. I knew our team would come back. Jocelyn (Forest) started the game and ran out of gas a little there, but Nicole (DiSalvio) came in and did a great job. I'm really proud of the way our team never gave up."

MICHIGAN COACH CAROL HUTCHINS: "We've got a lot of disappointed kids right now. We didn't play our best and I didn't have to tell them that. We just gave up too much free stuff, six walks and four errors"

 

DAY THREE NOTES

 

TOP 25 POLL ON THE MARK: If the final regular season USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is an indication, the four remaining teams in the Women's College World Series should be no surprise. The four remaining teams were ranked Nos. 1 (Arizona), 2 (UCLA), 3 (LSU) and 4 (Stanford) in the final poll. In fact, by Saturday's evening session, the top six teams in the poll made up the six remaining teams in the WCWS as No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 California reached the Saturday evening session.

LONG NIGHT'S JOURNEY INTO MORNING: It was Sunday at 12:06 a.m. when LSU's Jennifer Schuelke crossed the plate in the bottom of the 13th inning with the game-winning in the Tigers' 2-1 victory over Oklahoma. The teams remained on the field as the Sooners were presented with their regional championship trophies. After the mandatory 10-minute "cooling off" period, both teams participated in post-game press conferences. The teams were able to leave the stadium at about 1 a.m.

NEAR RECORD FOR SNEED: LSU pitcher Britni Sneed came within one strikeout of matching a Women's College World Series record. Sneed's 19-strikeout performance was one shy of Debbie Doom's (UCLA) record 20 strikeouts against Oklahoma State in 1982, also in 13 innings.

HOME RUN IMPACT: Through the first 10 games of the Women's College World Series, a total of 40 runs has been scored. Of those 40 runs, 24 runs have come as a result of 12 home runs. Home runs have provided all of the scoring in two games -- Game 1 (Arizona 3, California 2) and Game 6 (UCLA 5, Stanford 0). In addition, four home runs accounted for eight of the nine runs in Game 5 (Arizona 5, Oklahoma 4).