OKLAHOMA CITY — Facing a third consecutive year of going 0 for 2 at the Women’s College World Series, fifth-seeded Missouri took advantage of four Oklahoma errors to stay alive and pick up their first WCWS victory since 1991 with a 4-1 victory. In the process, the Tigers eliminated Oklahoma after scoring four runs – three unearned – while Tiger pitcher Chelsea Thomas tossed 7.0 solid innings.
Thomas (32-7) tied the single season school record with her 32nd win of the year, shutting out the Sooners for the first six innings before giving up a run in the seventh while striking out six. Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts took the loss to finish the season 29-15. Ricketts gave up six hits and walked one while striking out five.
After setting down the Sooners in order to start the game, Thomas issued a pair of walks to start the top half of the second. Thomas was able to get Dani Dobbs to pop out to center field for the first out, and a fielder’s choice recorded the second out of the inning while putting Sooner runners at first and third. Thomas worked out of it by striking out Jessica Schults on three pitches, keeping the game scoreless.
Missouri scored the first run on a throwing error by Dobbs, who made her first career start at catcher. Leading off the inning, Catherine Lee worked a full count before hitting a base hit into center field. After Lee was pinch ran for by Shana White, Princess Krebs drew a walk to put two Tigers on with nobody out. Two batters later Mizzou executed a double steal to perfection, while Dobbs threw the ball into left field with no one covering third, allowing White to score the first run of the game.
Thomas worked out of another jam in the top of the third to keep Oklahoma off the scoreboard.
Ali Vandever reached to lead off the inning after more miscommunication between Tiger defenders. Vandever hit a pop up on the infield that neither Megan Christopher nor Ashley Fleming could track down, allowing the Sooner to reach on an error. The Tigers caught a break when Destinee Martinez popped a bunt attempt up to Thomas for the first out of the inning, but Brianna Turang laid down a perfect bunt single to put two runners on with only one out. However, Thomas then got Haley Nix to strike out swinging on three pitches before wrapping up the inning by getting Ricketts to strike out looking, also on three pitches.
Another costly error by the Sooners added another run for Missouri, pushing their lead to 2-0 as they scored their second unearned run of the game. Lisa Simmons hit a ground ball up the middle that was fielded by Sooner second baseman Turang, who stepped on the bag for the second out, but airmailed the throw into the Sooner dugout on an attempted double play. Lee was allowed to score, while Simmons took second.
The Tigers took advantage of more defensive lapses by the Sooners in the bottom of the sixth inning, allowing Missouri to add two insurance runs in the frame.
Hudson led off the inning with her 14th double of the season, grounding a ball through the right side that rolled all the way to the wall in right-center. Fleming was hit by pitch, and she would move up a base, along with Hudson, on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Lee. Missouri then got a huge break, as Princess Krebs bunted through a suicide squeeze attempt. Hudson, who was streaking home on the play, got in a rundown and then scored on an overthrow at the plate, which also allowed Fleming to touch home, putting Mizzou up 4-0.
Oklahoma erased the shutout in the top of the seventh inning on Dobbs’ ninth home run of the season. The Sooner senior sent the second pitch she saw deep over the wall in left to cut the Tiger lead to 4-1.