OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Alabama vs. Oklahoma has become an intense rivalry over the years.
We’re not talking football.
The Crimson Tide and Sooners have met at the Women’s College World Series six times and will meet again in the first round Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
Alabama lost its last two meetings with the Sooners in Oklahoma City, but has a 3-3 overall record against them in WCWS games. Overall, Alabama leads the series 9-8.
The last two Alabama wins against the Sooners came in the 2012 WCWS championship series, an 8-6 Game 2 victory and a 5-4 Game 3 win to give the Crimson Tide its first national title.
“For us, it was huge, obviously,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said of the 2012 series. “ It was tremendous exposure for our program. We had been here I think it was the eighth time. It was like I was going to be the Buffalo Bills coach. Finally, it was epic, because I don’t think we ended until 12:59 a.m. It kind of raised the stature, especially in the state. Obviously, college football is king in Tuscaloosa. We led the nation in attendance for 13 consecutive years now. They come and follow us, as well. I think it just raised the level of our program 10 times.”
The 2012 championship series got pretty intense in Game 3. With the Sooners holding a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with two outs, the light rain that had been falling started coming down harder and OU starting pitcher Keilani Ricketts had difficulty controlling her pitches. She walked a batter and two wild pitches gave Crimson Tide its fist run.
That’s when Gasso went out to discuss the playing conditions with the umpires.
The game was halted.
The Alabama players got riled up.
The Crimson Tide came out of the dugout during the delay and led the UA fans with a chorus of “Roll Tide” and other cheers. Soon after, the game resumed, but the fans and the players had the momentum. Alabama rallied for four runs in the inning and took control, eventually winning 5-4.
“There was controversy with it,” Gasso said. “There were all kinds of stuff going on. But that is just part of the game. It’s what you got to deal with, learn from, so forth. But it was exciting. It was highs and lows for both sides, I guess. I do believe that series was so intense, you had some of the best players in college softball to this day on both sides of the field. I do think it did elevate or get people wanting to watch, especially the excitement of that one game that winner takes all.”
Alabama is making its 12th overall WCWS appearance while the Sooners are playing in their 13th. Oklahoma has four national titles to Alabama’s one and enters this tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. Alabama is the No. 8 seed.
“For some reason we always seem to face each other,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “We were here a couple years ago sitting right in this same place. Coach Murphy always has his team ready to play. They always have fire. They’re fearless. They’re well-balanced. They’ve got speed. They’ve got power.”
WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
Alabama vs. Oklahoma
When: 8:30 p.m., Thursday
Where: USA Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma City
Records: Alabama 57-8, Oklahoma 54-3
Radio: 93.3 FM