No. 4 OKLAHOMA Sooners
Overall Record: 51-8
Conference: Big 12 (1st, 19-5)
Head Coach: Patty Gasso

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No. 1 CALIFORNIA Golden Bears
Overall Record: 57-5
Conference: Pac-12 (1st, 18-3)
   Head Coach: Diane Ninemire


Venue: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
   Pam Ward (play by play)
   Michelle Smith (color)
   Jessica Mendoza (color)
   Holly Rowe (field reporter)

Who to Watch for the Sooners: P Keilani Ricketts, .405, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 0.96 ERA, 34-7, 404 K; 1B Lauren Chamberlain, .358, 28 HR, 74 RBI; 2B Georgia Casey, .367, 9 HR, 31 RBI

Who to Watch for the Golden Bears: P/UT Valerie Arioto, .385, 63 R, 23 HR, 60 RBI; P Jolene Henderson, 37-2, 1.13 ERA, 309 K; OF Jamia Reid, .387, 53 R, 14 RBI, 48 SB 


    def. Lehigh, 19-3 (5 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Tulsa, 7-1 [ Box ]
    def. Oregon State, 6-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. Arizona, 6-0 [ Box ]
    def. Arizona, 7-1 [ Box ]
Women's College World Series
    def. USF, 5-1 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

    def. Iona, 8-0 [ Box ]
    lost to Arkansas, 3-2 [ Box ]
    def. Boston U., 8-0 (6 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 10-2 (5 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 7-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. No. 16 Washington, 5-0 [ Box ]
    def. No. 16 Washington, 2-0 [ Box ]
Women's College World Series
    def. LSU, 5-3 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

Rosters: Oklahoma | California Schedules: Oklahoma | California
More Postseason: National Statistics Scoreboard  Interactive Bracket  Videos  Photos

California, Oklahoma set collision course after comebacks

They did it in two different ways, but the end result was the same.

Top-seeded California and No. 4 seed Oklahoma each fell behind in their opening-round games while facing one of the nation's elite pitchers. The potent offenses still managed to come to life and now they'll battle Friday night for a spot in the winner's bracket Sunday and an off day in between. 

Heading into the opener, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso was concerned about being able to get runners the base and moving them around. She didn't think the long ball would come into play much against USF's Sara Nevins and Co., who were ranked second nationally in ERA entering the contest and had shown they could play with -- and beat -- the best teams in the country. 

Oklahoma vs. California
Batting Average .320 .318
Home Runs 96 81
Runs Per Game 6.5 5.8
Stolen Bases 64 89
ERA 1.12 1.23
Boy, was Gasso wrong.

Freshman Lauren Chamberlain crushed a 1-1 pitch to center field in the fourth inning, pushing OU ahead 2-1 just minutes after the Bulls took the initial lead. Two innings later, pitcher Keilani Ricketts helped her own cause as she hit her second triple of the year to score Chamberlain as part of a three-run inning.

Players and coach alike attributed the slow start to jitters. Now the key is putting that game behind them and getting back into a normal routine before facing the Bears.

"I think we just need to trust each other and trust ourselves because when you're nervous out there, it's easy to try to do too much," Ricketts said. "But obviously what we did before was good enough to get here. So we just have to stick with that game plan; just relax out there."

California was in a simlilar situation as the Golden Bears allowed two runs in the second inning before recording an out Thursday. Single unearned runs in the third and fifth tied the score before Cal put it away with three more in the sixth. 

Getting by LSU, which has struggled scoring throughout the season, is one thing. Now, the Bears get to face the Sooners nearly in their back yard.

"Coming into this, we knew it wasn't going to be easy. We knew it was going to be a fight to the end," Jamia Reid said. "I know some girls on that team and I know they're all great players, so it's going to be a great game."

The Golden Bears know they will have to play as well as they have all year in every phase to get by an OU squad that leads the country in home runs (96) and ERA (1.12). They also know Ricketts' reputation and why she was named the national player of the year earlier this week.

"Coming into the World Series, every team here did exactly what they needed to do and executed in every way possible to get here, so we already know we'll see some great games," said Frani Echavarria, who went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the third, fifth and sixth innings Thursday. "Oklahoma is a great program and we've seen them in the past a couple times, so I think using maybe those games to help prepare, games that we've seen on TV, I think that we'll be ready. And as long as we play our game, I'm pretty sure we can give them a good game also."

Echavarria also portrayed the confidence of a top-ranked team coming of a hard-earned win, saying about the Sooners' star: "Ricketts, she's a baller. But, yeah, I'm excited to compete against the best and hopefully we get the W." 

                                                                                                               -- Jerry Trickie,

► Lauren Chamberlain added to her Big 12 record with her 28th home run of the season in OU's WCWS opener against USF. She is now just two homers shy of tying the national freshman record set by Kelly Majam of Hawaii in 2010.

► Keilani Ricketts helped her own cause Thursday as she hit her second triple of the season, scoring Lauren Chamberlain from second for an insurance run.

► Ricketts also knotched 11 strikeouts against USF, pushing her season total above 400 for the second consecutive year. Her 404 Ks this season are second on the OU list, only trailing her 452 a year ago.

► Brianna Turang is fourth on the squad with a .366 average, but drove in just her eighth run with a sixth-inning RBI single against USF.

► Friday's game will feature two of the three finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year in Cal's Valerie Arioto and Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts, who took home the award Tuesday. The duo also are familiar with each other after playing together last summer on the US National Team.

► Arioto didn't figure into the outcome as far as the box score was concerned, but added affected the game by adding to her nation-leading walk total. She now has 90 free passes this season after earning three against LSU.

► Jamia Reid scored twice and stole a base in the Bears' opening victory. Her steal was No. 48 of the year and moved her into a tie for the national lead with a pair of players from Jackson State.

► California scored four runs against LSU's Rachele Fico, the national leader in ERA entering the week, although two of them were unearned.