NCAA softball: Oklahoma, 'Bama give WCWS a different feel

2012-06-04T00:00:00Z NCAA softball: Oklahoma, 'Bama give WCWS a different feelThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 04, 2012 12:00 am  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Pac 12's run of Women's College World Series championships has been interrupted.

Jackie Traina homered and threw a two-hitter, Kaila Hunt and Jazlyn Lunceford also connected and Alabama beat top-seeded California 5-2 on Sunday to reach the Women's College World Series finals for the first time.

The No. 2 seed Crimson Tide (58-7) will face No. 4 Oklahoma (53-8), which knocked off defending champion Arizona State 5-3 in the other semifinal. Both teams arrive on 11-game winning streaks.

The best-of-three championship series starting tonight marks the first time since 1986 that no Pac-12 teams made it to the finals. The conference had won six straight titles, 10 of the past 11 and 23 of 30 since the tournament started.

"There's athletes everywhere now - I mean everywhere - and if you find them, you're going to put together a good team," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said.

The Big 12 will be going for its fourth NCAA title while Alabama will go for the Southeastern Conference's first.

Oklahoma is in the finals for the first time since winning its only national championship in 2000, when the title was decided with a single game.

Katie Norris homered, Keilani Ricketts struck out 13 and the Sooners struck for four runs in the third inning against Dallas Escobedo (24-8) to take control.

Ricketts hit an RBI single that tied it at 2 and Jessica Shults followed with a two-run double that nicked off right fielder Alix Johnson's glove as she tried for a diving grab. Shults then came in to score when third baseman Haley Steele lost Norris' potential inning-ending popup and let it fall.

"I just love the tenacity of this team, and to find a way to play for a national championship has been our ultimate dream," Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said.

Today

• What: Alabama vs. Oklahoma, Game 1 of WCWS Championship Series

• When: 5 p.m.

• TV: ESPN2

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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