OKLAHOMA CITY – For the third time in the eight-year history of the best-of-three championship series format, there will be a game on Wednesday at the WCWS. Alabama extended the series on Tuesday night with an 8-6 victory against Oklahoma. The teams will play a deciding game on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

After Alabama loaded the bases but was unable to score in the top of the first, Oklahoma plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the inning. Georgia Casey, who had been in a bit of a hitting slump, led off the game with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Keilani Ricketts would draw a two-out walk before junior catcher Jessica Shults connected on an RBI single to center, just shallow enough to be out of the range for UA centerfielder Jennifer Fenton. Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina recorded her second strikeout of the frame to end the inning with the Sooners leading 1-0.

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The Crimson Tide would answer in the top of the second. Amanda Locke reached on a fielding error to lead off the inning, and was replaced by pinch runner Keima Davis, who was sacrificed to second. After Jazlyn Lunceford was hit by a pitch, the pair advanced to scoring position on a passed ball and Davis would score on the at-bat of Fenton as the defense was unsuccessful in recording the out at third base. After Kaila Hunt was hit by a pitch for the second time in as many innings, Traina cleared the bases with a three-run double to left center, giving the Crimson Tide a 4-1 lead.

Alabama added to its lead in the fourth inning. Kayla Braud became the fifth Crimson Tide batter hit by Ricketts to lead off the inning. She went to second on a bunt single from Fenton and the pair moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Hunt would score Braud on a sacrifice fly to deep right field.

That would be enough for OU head coach Patty Gasso to relieve Ricketts, bringing in Michelle Gascoigne to complete the inning. Gascoigne loaded the bases on a fielders choice to Traina with the out at the plate, but Cassie Reilly-Boccia and Kendall Dawson drew walks, setting up Amanda Locke. Locke connected on the second bases-clearing double of the game for Alabama, making the score 8-1 after three and a half innings of play.

“I think everybody, all 20 players, stuck to a plan that we decided to do this morning and everybody was locked in and ready to go,” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team. This is what we’ve been working for. Me for 16 years, but these guys for four years. I’m excited. I wish we could play right now.”

Oklahoma made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh inning. Destinee Martinez led off the inning with a triple ripped to right centerfield, and scored on a single through the left side off the bat of Lauren Chamberlain. A seeing-eye single from Keilani Ricketts that dropped just behind Alabama’s shortstop and third basemen put two on base for Jessica Shults, who ripped her 20th home run of the season to make the score 8-5.

Brianna Turang had the next hot bat for the Sooners, dropping a triple down the left field line just out of the range of Braud’s glove. Erica Sampson grounded out to first base, scoring Turang to account for the 8-6 score. Traina struck out Javen Henson to end the game and send the series to Wednesday night.

Traina finished the game having struck out eight and walked three, allowing six runs on nine hits. Five of the hits and five of the runs came in the bottom of the seventh inning. She was also the only Alabama player with multiple hits in the game.

NOTES
• This is the eighth WCWS to use the best-of-three championship series format. This is just the third series to play on Wednesday. In both of the previous instances (Michigan d. UCLA in 2005, Arizona d. Tennessee in 2007), the team that won Game 2 of the series also won the deciding third game.

• Alabama won the coin flip and will be the home team for Wednesday’s deciding game.

• Tuesday’s attendance was 8,385. A new attendance record has been set during each session of the 2012 WCWS. The average attendance per session this year has been 8,645. The existing average attendance record for an entire WCWS is 7,515 fans, set last year.

• After OU ended Alabama’s 11-game winning streak Monday night, the Crimson Tide returned the favor on Tuesday, terminating Oklahoma’s 12-game streak. Alabama is now 59-8 on the season while Oklahoma stands at 54-9.