OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – For eighth innings Alabama softball had no answer for Oklahoma All-American Giselle Juarez.
Finally the Crimson Tide broke through and all it took was someone who hadn’t faced Juarez on Sunday.
Pinch-hitter Caroline Hardy delivered a two-out, RBI single to score pinch-runner Kloyee Anderson to give Alabama a 1-0 win to had the Sooners their first loss in the Women’s College World Series.
The Crimson Tide and Sooners were scheduled to play again at 7:35 p.m. later Sunday with the winner advancing to the WCWS finals to face UCLA.
It was a pitcher’s duel for all eight innings with Juarez and Alabama’s Montana Fouts, the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Fouts pitched all eight innings, allowing four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. She continued to work herself out of trouble to keep the Sooners frustrated.
The Alabama defense helped her out several times, including a double play when third baseman Maddie Morgan caught a line drive and doubled up the runner on first base to get Fouts out of a jam in the fifth inning. Morgan made another big catch in the fourth.
On the other side, Alabama had just one hit through six innings, unable to get to Juarez, who allowed the one run on four hits with eight strikeouts.
Kaylee Tow got a double in the seventh, but Alabama couldn’t get her home, thanks to some great defense from the Sooners. Nicole Mendes, OU’s hero against Alabama in Thursday’s 3-2 win, made a diving catch on a liner by Merris Schroder to end the inning.
In the eighth, senior leader Reagan Dykes led off with a single to put Alabama in business. A sac bunt moved pinch-runner Anderson to second, setting the stage for Hardy’s heroics later in the inning.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 2, 2019