OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma made mistakes teams normally don’t get away with at the Women’s College World Series. The Sooners had enough firepower to get by.
Nicole Pendley hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Oklahoma opened defense of its national title with a 6-3 victory over Baylor on Thursday night.
The Sooners won despite committing four errors, and they got in a bit of trouble late in a game they appeared to have under control. Still, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso knows how hard World Series wins are hard to come by.
“Good first win, and that’s exactly what you want when you come into this tournament, is get the first win and away you go,” she said. “Just wasn’t maybe the prettiest, but it’s in our back pocket, and we’re ready to move on.”
Macey Hatfield had two hits and Fale Aviu knocked in two runs for the Sooners (57-9).
Oklahoma’s Paige Parker (24-5), selected the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s series, allowed one run and five hits in six innings.
Oklahoma has won three of four this season against Baylor. This one, like the others, had some difficult moments.
“It was uncomfortable,” Gasso said. “It’s hard to watch because I know how much better we are. But again, Baylor creates that on us. I say this over and over: Baylor makes us better. They make us play hard, and we appreciate that. We like that.”
Oklahoma advanced to play Washington in a winners’ bracket game on Friday.
Maddison Kettler had three hits and Lindsey Cargill had two for Baylor (48-14).
Kelsee Selman (24-9) gave up six runs in five innings for the Bears. She was tough on herself for the rough start.
“That game is on me,” she said. “If I wouldn’t have had that first inning, we would have won the ballgame 3-2.”
Baylor will play Oregon in an elimination game on Saturday. Baylor coach Glenn Moore recalled how the Bears rallied in 2014 and thinks his Bears have a chance to do it again.
“We came here and got run-ruled by Florida, and the team fought back and played on Sunday and won two big games on Saturday,” he said. “I expect this team to fight like crazy to be able to do that and make a run for it.”
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