Timely hitting lifts Oklahoma past Cajuns
Oklahoma’s Brittany Williams drove in a pair of runs with a first-inning double and Callie Parson added a two-out, inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning to lift the No. 7-seeded Sooners to a 3-1 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette in an elimination game today at the Women’s College World Series.
Kelsey Stevens scattered six hits and got out of three potential scoring jams as Oklahoma (51-12), the defending national champion, advanced to face top-seeded Oregon in today’s late game. Louisiana-Lafayette, making its sixth trip to the Women’s College World Series and first since 2008, ended its season at 49-10-1.
Oklahoma took a 2-0 lead in the first inning after Lauren Chamberlin reached on a one-out error. Following a walk to Shelby Pendley, Williams laced a double to center-field off ULL starter Christina Hamilton (29-4) to plate both runs.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, who stranded 11 runners on base, threatened in the third inning after Natalie Fernandez and Hayley Hayden reached on a pair of one-out singles and Lexie Elkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Stevens (38-9) got out of the inning as she got Samantha Walsh to look at a called third strike before getting Shellie Landry to ground out to short.
Louisiana-Lafayette again threatened in the fifth inning after Fernandez and Hayden each collected singles to put a runner in scoring position. But Stevens halted the Cajuns’ threat as she got Elkins to pop up, fanned Walsh and got Landry to hit into a fielder’s choice to third.
Oklahoma added an insurance run in the sixth inning after Hamilton induced an infield pop-up and caught Erin Miller looking at a third strike. Parson, who was homerless in 168 career at-bats entering the Women’s College World Series, laced a hit down the left-field line that fell in front of a diving Shelbi Redfearn and rolled to the wall to give the Sooners a 3-0 lead.
Louisiana-Lafayette would not go down quietly in the seventh as Elkins belted a one-out home run to right-center field — her 24th of the season — to cut the lead to 3-1. Walsh followed with a single to left that brought up the tying run to the plate, but Stevens got an infield popup and a ground out to preserve the win for the Sooners.
Elkins’ 24 home runs ties her with Florida State’s Maddie O’Brien for the second-most in Division I in 2014 and moved her past former Ragin’ Cajuns Christi Orgeron (2011) and Holly Tankersley (2008) into second-place on the school’s single-season all-time list.
Hamilton, a junior who was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America team Wednesday, scattered four hits and fanned two in notching her 23rd complete game of the season.
Fernandez, one of two seniors on a team that featured 10 sophomores and 11 freshmen, went 2-for-4 in her final game in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform and finished her career as the school’s second-leading hitter with a .395 career average (253-for-641).