Jordy Bahl’s dynamic pitching and boundless energy have Oklahoma on the verge of a third straight national softball championship.
Bahl pitched two-hitter ball and struck out 10 as Oklahoma beat Florida State 5-0 on Wednesday night. The top-seeded Sooners (60-1) took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship series of the Women’s College World Series and can clinch their seventh national title on Thursday.
Bahl was constantly on the move Wednesday, urging on her teammates and helping create a vibe that rippled throughout the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. She got the Sooners going when she scored as a runner Pop-up for the second Oklahoma race.
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«We needed a spark,» Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. «We needed some kind of spark. I think when Jordy comes in for a run, our team gets a little excited.»
Bahl is 4-0 in the World Series and hasn’t allowed a run in 21 2/3 innings. The sophomore helped Oklahoma push its record Division I winning streak to 52 games.
Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings set her career World Series record for RBIs with a single in the sixth that scored Rylie Boone and made it 5–0. Her 29 RBI broke the record set by Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo last year.
Boone had two doubles and Kinzie Hansen and Alyssa Brito each had two hits for the Sooners.
Mack Leonard, a senior who had pitched just 37 1/3 innings this season, started and took the loss for Florida State (58-10). He allowed a run and a hit, but didn’t get the run support he needed.
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«I thought Mack pitched very well,» Florida State coach Lonni Alameda said. «We had our chances there. We had a couple of changes, we had our chances.»
Kathryn Sandercock, the team’s ace, did not play. Alameda said that she never considered putting her in the game.
«Definitely stick with the plan we had all year,» he said. «I think (Oklahoma) is a really good team to make adjustments. I also needed to see what we had from our other pitchers.»
The game started an hour late due to lightning near the stadium, then was delayed again in the first inning, starting two hours after the original start time.
Even during the delays, Bahl couldn’t relax.
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«I was walking a lot, trying to stay mentally locked,» she said. «‘Okay, when are we going to start playing? Are they going to cancel?’ He was very worried about what was going to happen.»
The Sooners began to reassure Bahl in the fourth. Haley Lee was hit by a pitch, ending Leonard’s night in the circle. Makenna Reid replaced Florida State, but Hansen doubled her to score Bahl, who ran for Lee.
Brito singled to score Hansen. Alynah Torres hit a short chopper and topped throw to first, scoring Brito to bring Oklahoma’s lead to 3-0.
In the fifth, Hansen’s single scored Jayda Coleman to make it 4–0.
Even when Florida State saw glimmers of hope, they were snuffed out. Kalei Harding hit what appeared to be a double in the sixth, but Coleman tagged her out at second by several steps.
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Jennings’ RBI made it 5–0. Oklahoma would have added three more runs in the sixth, but Florida State left fielder Kaley Mudge jumped and reached over the fence to make a spectacular grab that robbed Lee.
It wasn’t enough, and now, for the first time in this World Series, Florida State finds itself in a must-win situation.
«I mean, we have to play our best game,» Alameda said. «That’s all we’ve got. Our backs are against the wall. Regardless, it’s been an amazing season. In order for us to be where we are now, I’ve told the kids not to put their heads down.»