Just when it seemed Paige Parker had done it all, Oklahoma’s ace took it to another level.
The senior threw a two-hitter for her second shutout of the day, and Oklahoma remained alive in its quest for a third straight national title with a 2-0 win over Florida in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
It was the first time in three years of World Series play that Parker had to win two games in a day. Against Florida, she threw 104 pitches and struck out eight to pick up her 10th career WCWS victory. In the 2-0 win over Arizona State earlier in the day, she threw just 78 pitches, gave up two hits and struck out seven.
“For her to have an outing like that after playing Arizona State against a team like Florida that’s such a well-rounded team in every area — it was one for the ages, in my mind,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “It was not only just masterful, but it was a will to find a way to win, which led into our team, and they were going to find a way to win with her putting those efforts on the mound.”
Florida (56-11) started Kelly Barnhill, but coach Tim Walton pulled the All-American after just two innings. Aleshia Ocasio stepped in and was solid, but she got no support from the offense. The Sooners (57-4) will need to beat Washington twice on Sunday to reach the championship series. Parker’s performance allowed the Sooners to save No. 2 pitcher Paige Lowary. Parker said she’ll be able to contribute, too.
Florida State knocks off No. 1 seed Oregon
Kayla Hanson gave up just one run, and the Seminoles knocked off the top seed in an elimination game.
Meghan King entered the game for Florida State with one out and two on in the seventh and retired both batters she faced for the save. She got the win earlier in the day against Georgia.
Florida State (54-12) will need to beat UCLA twice on Sunday to advance to the championship series.
Miranda Elish got the loss for Oregon (53-10) after entering the night with a 37-1 career record.
Florida State opened the scoring when Elizabeth Mason doubled to score Cali Harrod in the third. The Seminoles added another run in the fifth when Mason singled to score Harrod again.
In the sixth, Florida State’s Zoe Casas sent one deep to right. Haley Cruse got her glove up to prevent a home run, but Deja Bush scored on the single to put Florida State up 3-0.
Oregon finally got on the board in the sixth when Cruse doubled to score Shannon Rhodes. Sydney Sherrill’s solo homer in the seventh provided insurance for Florida State.
Oklahoma eliminates Arizona State
Things returned to normal for Paige Parker on Saturday.
The senior threw a two-hitter, and Oklahoma defeated Arizona State 2-0 in an elimination game at the Women’s College World Series.
Parker entered the week with a career 8-0 World Series record, but she lost to Washington on Thursday despite giving up just one run. Against Arizona State, she threw 78 pitches and struck out seven in a complete game.
“Today was just going out there giving my team a chance to win,” Parker said. “Defense was fantastic today. The last couple of innings I knew I needed to step it up a notch and really go into shutdown mode and try to be efficient today and go after hitters and stay ahead in counts.”
Oklahoma (56-4) will play Florida in an elimination game later in the day. The Sooners have won three of the past five national titles while Florida has won the other two. Oklahoma is trying to join UCLA as the only programs to win three straight national titles.
Oklahoma expects a battle from the second-seeded Gators.
“They’re tough,” Parker said. “They’re very, very tough. Great pitching staff. Great hitters. Great defense. They’re a really tough team.”
Jocelyn Alo’s solo homer in the third, her nation-leading 29th of the season, gave Oklahoma a 1-0 lead.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to tip my hat,” Arizona State pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez said. “She did her job on my mistake.”
Lea Wodach’s RBI single in the sixth put the Sooners up 2-0.
“We were just trying to get another run,” Wodach said. “I know having one run is just always uneasy. You just never think any amount of runs is enough. So I was just trying to go up there and find a way to squeak the ball through, literally squeak it through.”
Juarez lost despite giving up just one run and four hits in four innings. Danielle Gibson and DeNae Chatman were the only Sun Devils with hits.
It was a disappointing end for Arizona State (48-13), which reached the World Series for the first time since 2013.
“You will see us here again,” Juarez said. “We’re a really gritty team, and we’re excited because we see where we’re going.”
Florida State eliminates Georgia
Zoe Casas had two hits and knocked in three runs, and Florida State defeated Georgia 7-2 to stay alive in the Women’s College World Series.Meghan King gave up just five hits in a complete game for the Seminoles.
Florida State (53-12) will play Oregon in an elimination game Saturday night.
Casas hit an RBI double in the second inning and a single that knocked in two in the fourth to help the Seminoles jump out to a 4-0 lead.
Georgia (48-13) bounced back in the fifth when Justice Milz tripled to score two, but Florida State tacked on two more when Dani Morgan singled in the bottom of the inning.
Georgia scraped its way into the World Series despite losing ace pitcher Brittany Gray to a right biceps injury for the last half of the season. She led the nation with a 0.48 earned run average and had a 16-1 record before having surgery.