OU stifles Stanford in WCWS opener; Vols up next

OKLAHOMA CITY — Jordy Bahl threw a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts to help two-time defending national champion Oklahoma defeat Stanford 2-0 Thursday in its Women’s College World Series opener.

Bahl outlasted Stanford pitcher NiJaree Canady, the nation’s leader in ERA and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Freshman of the Year. Canady gave up just four hits and one earned run in five innings against an Oklahoma team that leads the nation in scoring and batting average.

Jayda Coleman’s RBI single in the fifth provided all the offense Oklahoma needed.

Oklahoma (57-1) extended its Division I-record win streak to 49 games and advanced to play No. 4 seed Tennessee (50-8) on Saturday. The winner reaches the semifinals in the double-elimination bracket.

No. 9 seed Stanford (45-14) will play No. 5 seed Alabama (45-21) in an elimination game on Friday.

Oklahoma’s Haley Lee sent a Canady pitch to the warning track in the fourth, but Stanford left fielder Ellee Eck snagged the hard shot to end the inning with the game still scoreless.

Stanford got two on with one out in the fifth but could not score.

With two on and two outs in the fifth, Coleman singled to left field and knocked in a run. An error on Eck for letting the ball bounce off her glove allowed the other runner to score and put the Sooners up 2-0.

Tennessee 10, Alabama 5: Rylie West hit a three-run homer, Jamison Brockenbrough and Katie Taylor had two hits and Kiki Milloy scored twice for the Lady Vols (50-8). Tennessee’s Ashley Rogers, a first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, gave up two runs in four innings to improve to 19-1 this season.

Jenna Johnson and Kenleigh Cahalan each had two hits and Marlie Giles hit a solo homer for Alabama (45-21). Jaala Torrence gave up six runs — two earned — in 2 1/3 innings for the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s Ashley Prange committed three errors that led to four unearned runs. She had six errors all season combined before Thursday.

Tennessee opened the scoring in the second when Taylor doubled to knock in two. Milloy, the nation’s home run leader, was intentionally walked, then Zaida Puni doubled to score Taylor and Milloy and push the Lady Vols’ lead to 4-0.

“Whenever they intentionally walk me, I’m like, ‘I don’t know if that’s the best move because Zaida is going to come up,'” Milloy said. “Every time they walk me, I feel like she’s done something to manufacture a run.”

Alabama will play in an elimination game on Friday against Stanford. Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said Montana Fouts, the World Series veteran who got both wins in super regionals against Northwestern while nursing a hyperextended left knee, will be ready.

“This probably is the way it’s been written for this team, to make it the hard way,” Murphy said. “We have to play better defense. We have to get a good start from the starter. Then obviously the third thing is to key hit, and we need to do that early.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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