Alabama couldn’t keep the night of upsets going against top-seeded Oklahoma when junior Nicole Mendes laced a two-out, RBI-triple off the wall in center to edge the eighth-seeded Crimson Tide 3-2 in the first round of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday night in Oklahoma City.
Alabama (57-9) moves on to an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 5 seed Florida, which lost to 13th-seeded Oklahoma State 2-1 earlier Thursday.
Oklahoma (56-3) stuck first against Crimson Tide freshman ace Montana Fouts with a no-out, RBI sacrifice fly to center that scored senior Sydney Romero in the bottom of the first inning. Romero reached on a leadoff single and finished 2-for-3 in the game.
Alabama responded in the top of the third with a two-out, bloop RBI single to right field from junior slugger Baliey Hemphill, who is tied for the Tide's single-season home run lead at 25 on the year.
But the Sooners responded in the bottom half of the third when Jocelyn Alo laced a RBI single up the middle off a seven-pitch at-bat to score Romero from third after a leadoff triple to begin the inning.
Alabama wouldn't go down quietly. Junior shortstop Claire Jenkins tied things up once again in the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff home run, her 12th of the year but first since April 5 against South Carolina. Jenkins was 0 for her last 19 at-bats before going 2-for-3 with two runs scored on Thursday.
Outside of Hemphill and Brown, the Tide was a combined 1-for-19 at the plate against Oklahoma left-handed ace Giselle Juarez (27-1), who struck out nine and allowed just two earned runs in the complete-game effort Thursday.
The Sooners had the final answer on Mendes’ two-out RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. It came on a 3-1 count that ricocheted off the top of the wall in center field and scored senior pinch-runner Reagan Rogers from first for a 3-2 lead entering the seventh inning.