Lady Tide holds off Sooners at CWS

Published 2:16 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jackie Traina and Amanda Locke each had three-run doubles and Alabama forced a decisive third game in the Women’s College World Series finals by beating Oklahoma 8-6 on Tuesday night.

Traina laced a double to the warning track in left-center field with two outs in the second inning, putting the second-seeded Crimson Tide (59-8) ahead to stay.

Game 3 of the championship series is Wednesday night.

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Kaila Hunt added a sacrifice fly for the Crimson Tide, who are trying to become the first Southeastern Conference team to win the NCAA softball title. Alabama and Tennessee each have 12 World Series wins, the most for any team that hasn’t won the championship.

Jessica Shults drove in four runs, including a three-run home run during a five-run rally by Oklahoma (54-9) in the seventh inning.

In a reversal of Game 1, which Oklahoma won 4-1, it was Alabama that roared right back after allowing the first run of the game.

Locke, who reached on third baseman Javen Henson’s fielding error, came in to score when Henson couldn’t catch a flip from shortstop Jessica Vest on Jennifer Fenton’s two-out chopper as Jazlyn Lunceford slid in head first. Ricketts then hit Hunt on the right forearm for the second straight time, loading the bases before Traina cleared them with her liner to the track.

Locke made it 8-1 with her three-run double — also with two outs and also to left-center — off of reliever Michelle Gascoigne in the fourth.

Ricketts (37-8) lasted only 3 1-3 innings, giving up a season-worst six runs and setting a World Series record by hitting five batters with pitches as Alabama crowded the plate to limit the lefty’s pitch selection. Ricketts had never hit more than three batters with pitches in a game previously. Only two of the runs she allowed were earned because of Henson’s errors.

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger were among a close-to-home contingent that came out to see the Sooners try to win their second World Series championship. The first one came in 2000.

Shults put Oklahoma on top in the bottom of the first, getting a bloop single to fall into center field and drive in Georgia Casey from second.

After that, the Sooners didn’t get to Traina (41-3) until mounting a rally that fell just shy in the final inning. Destinee Martinez and Brianna Turang each had triples in the inning, and Erica Sampson’s run-scoring groundout got Oklahoma within 8-6.

Traina then struck out Henson to end the game.