A three-run sixth inning helped Oklahoma defeat USF 5-1 in the first game of the 2012 Women’s College World Series. The Bulls will play again in the double-elimination tournament on June 2 at 11 a.m., facing the team that loses in the matchup of LSU versus California. The game will be televised on ESPN2/ESPN3.
After three scoreless innings, USF struck first. Jessica Mouse reached on a fielding error and Kourtney Salvarola singled to right center, pushing pinch runner Courtney Goff across the plate in the fourth inning.
Oklahoma answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs to take the lead with Lauren Chamberlain’s two-run home run.
In the sixth inning, Chamberlain had a one-out double for the Sooners and Keilani Rickett’s left-field triple plated her. A two-out RBI single from Brianna Turang gave OU the 4-1 advantage. With the bases loaded, Brittany Williams drew a walk to put Oklahoma up by four.
In the top of the seventh, Janine Richardson led off with a single, but Oklahoma turned the double play to empty the bases.
USF scored its run on three hits, while Oklahoma had five runs on five hits. Sara Nevins took the loss, pitching 4.2 innings and striking out seven. Lindsey Richardson pitched 1.1 innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two. Sam Greiner faced two batters for USF.
“Sara Nevins is a tough, tough pitcher,” said Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso. “I wouldn’t want to face her again and I hope that we don’t. She is a tough pitcher and she did a fantastic job.”
Ricketts earned the win for the Sooners, pitching a complete game, allowing three hits and no earned runs, while striking out 11. Chamberlain, who is second in the country in home runs, finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI.
“My team just showed me what they are made of because they didn’t show any type of nervousness,” said USF head coach Ken Eriksen. “They just went out and played softball. You have to play flawless softball to advance to the winner’s bracket. The nice thing is that we have tomorrow off to prepare for Saturday’s game.”