OKLAHOMA CITY – Electricity was in the air for Bedlam, but Oklahoma State couldn’t generate enough power to top a lights-out performance.
The Cowgirls lost to Oklahoma, 6-1, in the winner’s bracket of the Women’s College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. A WCWS record of 9,820 were in attendance for the session that also included UCLA’s win over Arizona prior to Bedlam.
Because the game between the No. 2 Bruins and No. 6 Wildcats went late, Bedlam started 34 minutes after initially intended.
After a less than stellar start for No. 13 OSU, the two teams battled for a few innings before the outfield lights went out in right field. Despite the field still being playable, the game was under a 17-minute delay as crews worked to fix a generator, which had been run over in the parking lot.
The Cowgirls (45-16) didn’t get off to a great start as OU put up three in the opening frame. Show and OSU appeared to have some jitters in the infield.
After an easy groundout from Sydney Romero to start it, the Sooners couldn’t stop hitting as Fale Aviu hit a double off the right-field wall over Rylee Bayless’ head to get the offense going for OU.
Aviu then took third on a wild pitch from Show, with the Cowgirl righthander walking Caleigh Clifton on the next at-bat.
OU super sophomore Jocelyn Alo then walked up to the plate and hit a single out to right to plate two for the team in crimson and cream.
"It was just an unlucky inning for us," Show said. "I felt like I was making some good pitches. They were putting balls where we weren't. I was happy that we only held them to three. I felt like that didn't really put us out of the game. I knew if we stayed there and put zeros up the rest of the game, we had a chance to win."
The No. 1 Sooners capped the scoring with a hard hit RBI single right up the middle from Grace Green that OSU freshman shortstop Kiley Naomi made a valiant dive at, but couldn’t wrangle it in.
"That wasn't the start that I dreamed up, to be honest," OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. "That's what OU does. It's what Florida State does. It's what these top offense do. They kind of make their money by scoring fast.
"I honestly didn't think that Sam was that bad in the first. I thought she made a really good pitch to Alo. Was way inside. Off the plate in. She somehow got the barrel, stayed inside. It's what really good hitters do."
The Cowgirls responded in the home half of the first after Bayless drew a leadoff walk – her first time to get to base in the WCWS.
I mean, it was something like I feel I've always dreamed of as a little girl. I felt like I was just floating out there, to be honest. I don't really know how to explain it other than that it was really electrifying.
"It makes you realize that you are playing on the biggest stage," Bayless said. "You kind of get slapped with the reality that we made it to the end game. Next week there's not going to be any softball playing, no matter what. This is it. I felt like that really hit me hard tonight with everybody in the crowd. It was awesome playing OU. A Bedlam matchup that felt like it was the Big 12 tournament times 50. It was amazing."
Michaela Richbourg then mirrored Alo’s hit to right field with two outs to bring in Bayless, who dove into home plate headfirst.
"It was a big at-bat for me. We talked about staying short, hitting the ball hard today," Richbourg said. "I got behind in the count very fast. I was seeing the ball a little bit better today.
"Rylee scoring was a big moment. I was happy that her walk, if she wouldn't have walked, it wouldn't have been there. I stayed short. Coach told me to stay short right before that pitch. I hit the ball hard. Rylee scored. That's how it happened."
The next bulk of the game was a duel between the pitchers with Giselle Juarez and Show going back and forth. The Sooners’ ace fooled some of the OSU batters whereas Show and the OSU defense gritted out of a few scary situations to keep OU (56-3) from adding to its lead.
In the fifth, junior pitcher Logan Simunek came in and just as she started to get warm, the lights went out. The two teams then mingled with fans while the staff at the complex worked to get the broken generator fixed.
When the teams came back out to play, Sydney Pennington snagged a fast-moving ball down the line and stepped on the bag before firing to Richbourg to end the frame.
The Cowgirls attempted to start a rally in the fifth after some momentum following the lighting debacle, with Chyenne Factor earning a single off a check swing to center field.
However, OSU went down on strikeouts with Pennington and Chelsea Alexander both getting called third strikes to end the frame.
In the sixth, the Sooners put up another run as Simunek couldn’t hold them off. After a leadoff groundout, OU’s Nicole Mendes earned a single. Simunek followed it up with a strikeout before OU started to put some runs across.
Grace Lyons singled to right and Mendes was running to third when Pennington looked to catch it in order to tag her out on the basepath. Mendes launched herself into Pennington as the Sand Springs native dropped the ball, causing Mendes to be safe.
Simunek then hit the next batter before she walked home two-straight runs to end her outing as pitching coach Jeff Cottrill went to the bullpen to bring in Samantha Clakley for the first time since NCAA Regional action.
OU wasn’t done scoring yet, though, as the righthander from Carthage, Texas, walked in a run of her own to give the Sooners a five-run advantage. Clakley mercifully ended the frame with a strikeout.
In the bottom of the sixth, Bayless nearly went yard with a ball off the left-field wall to earn a leadoff double. However, Juarez – an Arizona State transfer who has lost just one game this season – punched in three-straight strikeouts to end the frame. She had 11 on the night.
Shannon Saile came on in relief of Juarez in the seventh as the former Florida player set OSU down in order to end it.
OSU now has to play Saturday against either No. 3 Washington or No. 7 Minnesota in an elimination game at 6 p.m. for the right to head to the semifinals against No. 2-seed UCLA on Sunday.
"We have to be in these games to figure this stuff out. It wasn't a great start. Little unlucky," OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. "Little bit of them being really good. Put us behind quickly. But I didn't feel our energy change. I felt like it was really good. I felt like we stayed good the whole game."
Follow News Press sports reporter Jordan Bishop on Twitter @Jordanbishop35 for updates on Oklahoma State softball.