Norman, Ok May, 27 (The Oklahoma Post) –
The Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowgirls have the Women’s College World Series in their sights. The only thing standing in their way is the Knights of UCF and Tigers of Clemson in a super-regional matchup.
Both teams made it to the World Series last year, where Florida State eliminated Oklahoma State. Oklahoma lost their first game against James Madison but rebounded and beat Florida State to win the championship.
Both teams are hosting their respective super regional games as OU welcomes UCF and OSU, including Clemson.
The Sooners got to this point by cruising through their regional just like they have cruised through the whole season.
They defeated Prairie View A&M and Texas A&M twice by a combined score of 37-2 to win the regional and secure a spot in the super regionals. They emphatically finished the regional by setting the record for the biggest shutout win in final regional history when they defeated A&M 20-0
The Sooners (52-2) will host the University of Central Florida Knights (49-12) out of the American Athletic Conference in Norman on Friday, May 27th.
OU is trying to make it to their sixth straight World Series, while UCF is trying to make their first-ever appearance in Oklahoma City.
The Knights got thereby winning their region, which included Villanova, Michigan, and South Dakota State. It was the first time that UCF got to host a regional in program history. They defeated Michigan in the final to advance to the super regionals, where they get to face the Sooners.
Utility player Jada Cody leads the Knights. The sophomore leads UCF in batting average (.363), home runs (14), and slugging percentage (.695).
They are led by Kama Woodall and senior Gianna Mancha in the circle. Mancha has a 23-3 record with a 1.62 ERA and has struck out 186 batters while only allowing 77 walks.
If the Knights want to have a chance, Mancha will have to figure out the recipe for stopping the dominant Sooner Offense, which no one has been able to do all year.
The biggest question mark going into the matchup is the health of superstar pitcher Jordy Bahl who missed the Regional and has not pitched since the Bedlam series against Oklahoma State.
Bahl’s health is a big piece in this regional, as I think the only way UCF has a chance is if Jordy Bahl cannot play.
If she is unable to go, Nicole May and Hope Trautwein will continue being the workhorses for the Sooners.
The winner will move onto the WCWS in Oklahoma City to play the winner of Northwestern and Arizona State.
My prediction is that OU will only need two games to end the Knight’s season and make yet another trip to OKC to defend their title. Even if Bahl doesn’t pitch, I don’t think UCF can keep up with the firepower from OU and would have to beat a team twice that has only lost twice the whole season.
Oklahoma State is looking to advance to their third straight Women’s College World Series, but the Clemson Tigers are standing in their way as they look to make their first-ever appearance.
The Cowgirls defeated Fordham, Nebraska, and North Texas in their regional easily. They have rode the momentum from defeating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and are looking to ride it to OKC.
Oklahoma State (44-12) will host the Clemson Tigers (42-15) out of the ACC starting Thursday, May 26th in Stillwater, with a spot in the WCWS on the line.
Oklahoma State is led by player of the year finalist, pitcher Kelly Maxwell, seniors third baseman Sydney Pennington and Oregon transfer designated hitter/pitcher Miranda Elish.
Clemson is only in their second full season of Softball as it just became an official sport at the university three years ago.
Last year Alabama eliminated them in the regional. They are looking to defeat the Cowgirls to win their first regional, super-regional, and advance to their first World Series, all in the same season.
The Tigers got here by defeating UNC Wilmington, Auburn, and Louisiana in their regional. They are led by their leading pitcher, who also happens to be one of their top hitters in Valerie Cagle, and McKenzie Clark, who leads the team in batting average.
The winner will advance to the Women’s College World Series, where they will play the winner of Arizona and Mississippi State.
This is an exciting matchup in a battle between two excellent pitching staff. Oklahoma State is the more talented team, but they have also been inconsistent at times, like when they scored one run in a loss against UT Arlington. Clemson has the pitching to stop Oklahoma State, but the issue is I don’t think they have the offense to score enough runs.
I believe that this will be a low-scoring super regional, and it will go all three games, but Oklahoma State will come out victorious and advance to OKC.
For more information on the rest of the super regionals and the Women’s College World Series, you can visit the NCAA website.
(Writing by Austin DeSpain; Editing by Robbie Robertson)
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