WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: ALABAMA 8, OKLAHOMA 6

Not finished yet, Tide forces third game

Alabama rattles Okla. pitcher Ricketts, who hits record 5 batters
2012-06-06T00:00:00Z Not finished yet, Tide forces third gameThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 06, 2012 12:00 am  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's on the wall in the practice facility and in the dugout whenever Alabama plays. It's right there in black and white on the players' wrists, too.

FINISH IT.

With one game left to decide the NCAA softball title, the Crimson Tide's season-long mantra has reached its ultimate point.

Jackie Traina and Amanda Locke each had three-run doubles and Alabama forced a decisive third game in the Women's College World Series finals by beating Oklahoma 8-6 on Tuesday night.

The trophy will be handed out after Game 3 tonight.

"It's the perfect time to finish it right now," Traina said. "(Today) is going to be the day."

Traina laced a double to the warning track in left-center field with two outs in the second inning, putting the second-seeded Crimson Tide up 4-1. Alabama wouldn't trail again.

Kaila Hunt added a sacrifice before Locke's bases-clearing double in the fourth for the Crimson Tide (59-8) as Alabama tries to become the first Southeastern Conference team to win the NCAA softball title.

"Everybody was locked in and ready to go. I couldn't be more proud of a team," said Patrick Murphy, who briefly left to coach LSU for a few days last June before having second thoughts and returning to Alabama.

"This is what we've been working for - me for 16 years but these guys for four years. I'm just excited. I wish we could play right now."

Alabama and Tennessee each have 12 World Series wins, the most for any team without a title.

The Crimson Tide lost twice last season when it was one win away from reaching the World Series finals, and sophomore Jordan Patterson came up with the idea for the FINISH IT slogan.

The team put up a sign with a hand print that players slap as they leave the hitting facility each day. They also put a sign up in the dugout, even on the road, and had wristbands printed.

The national championship is all that's left in front of them now.

"I think that would be the ultimate finishing it," Murphy said.

The finish didn't come easily in Game 2, though.

Jessica Shults hit a three-run home run during Oklahoma's five-run rally in the seventh and finished with four RBIs. Erica Sampson's run-scoring groundout got the Sooners (54-9) within two.

Traina (41-3) then struck out Javen Henson to end the game.

Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said the Sooners "gave away" too many opportunities.

Four of the season-high six runs allowed by Keilani Ricketts (37-8) were unearned because of a pair of errors by Henson at third base in the second inning. Ricketts also hit five batters with pitches, a career-high and World Series record, and walked another in 3 1/3 innings.

"For us to think that we would go in against Alabama and have it easy, we had another thing coming," Gasso said.

Today

• What: Oklahoma vs. Alabama, Game 3

• 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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