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Alabama Utilizes Multiple Long Balls to Power Past Oklahoma at the WCWS, 6-2
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Home runs from third baseman Peyton Grantham and right fielder Jadyn Spencer backed a one-hitter by pitcher Jaclyn Traina as Alabama opened its run on Thursday night at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Women’s College World Series action with a 6-2 win over Oklahoma.
Traina allowed one earned run on the lone hit, walked five and struck out nine in improving to 24-3 on the season, while for Oklahoma, Kelsey Stevens dropped to 37-9 after permitting five earned tallies on seven hits with a walk and five K’s over 4.1 frames.
‘Bama’s Grantham was 1-for-2 with a three-run HR, Spencer was 1-for-3 with a two-run blast and designated player Marisa Runyon knocked in a tally as part of a 1-for-3 effort.
Oklahoma’s lone hit came off the bat of third baseman Shelby Pendley as she blasted a solo shot in the first for the Crimson & Cream.
"I was worried after she gave up the home run to Pendley in the first, and I thought their crowd would get into it," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "After that it was Jaclyn Traina. Thought she did a really good job against a very good hitting team. They're a dangerous team. They take their cuts and every time they swing you hold your breath. Our freshmen have been coming through the past three or four weekends and tonight again, Runyon did it and so did Peyton. It's a great start for us for the 2014 World Series."
As is so often their way, the Sooners utilized the long ball to nab a quick first inning lead. With two down in the frame, Pendley blasted a solo HR to left as Oklahoma took a 1-0 advantage.
After being set down in order in the opening frame, Alabama’s offense roared to life against Stevens in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Kaila Hunt drew a leadoff walk and was soon joined on the base paths by Molly Fichtner as the UA catcher singled sharply through the left side. A throwing error allowed the duo to advance into scoring position with still no one retired. Runyon stepped to the dish and battled throughout an 11-pitch at-bat before lifting an RBI base knock that dropped just inside the right field line, tying the score at 1-1. With Crimson Tide runners stationed at the corners, Stevens responded in a huge spot by coercing a pop-up back to the circle and striking out first baseman Leona LaFaele and shortstop Danae Hays back-to-back to escape a major early threat.
Oklahoma got something going with two outs in the top of the fourth as right fielder Erin Miller walked and center fielder Callie Parsons reached on a failed fielder’s choice to second. For the briefest second it looked like ‘Bama might get out of the frame with no damage done as Parsons got caught straying too far off first. A throw to second in an attempt to end a rundown was wide, however, and rolled into left as Miller crossed easily to make it 2-1 Sooners.
Back-to-back singles from Hunt and Fichtner got the Tide in business starting the bottom of the fourth against Stevens. That set the stage for Grantham who stepped into the batter’s box and crushed a three-run shot to left center, granting Alabama its first lead of the contest at 4-2.
With OU first baseman Lauren Chamberlain stationed at first following a two-out walk in the top of the fifth, Pendley made a bid for extra bases. Her drive into the left field gap was nabbed on the run by center fielder Haylie McCleney, however, as the Sooners were turned away.
Alabama flexed its muscle again in the bottom of the sixth as Spencer lined a two-run shot over the fence in left center, plating left fielder Kallie Case for a four-run lead.
The Sooners left a runner in scoring position in the sixth and went down in order in the top of the seventh as Traina finished off the ‘Bama victory from the circle.