CLEMSON SOFTBALL

Valerie Cagle allowed only one hit through three innings, but the prolific Oklahoma offense broke through midway into the game for a blowout victory. (Clemson athletics photo)
Valerie Cagle allowed only one hit through three innings, but the prolific Oklahoma offense broke through midway into the game for a blowout victory. (Clemson athletics photo)

No. 1 Oklahoma takes game one over Clemson after fateful fifth inning


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Momentum swung wildly in a fateful fifth inning of the Norman Super Regional on Friday, but unfortunately for John Rittman’s Tigers, the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners had the final and emphatic say to key a 9-2 game one win.

After going down 4-0, No. 16 national seed Clemson answered in the fifth inning, where after an Oklahoma throwing error put two Tigers in scoring position, Caroline Jacobsen made the Sooners pay with her eighth and nine RBIs of the NCAA Tournament on a double to left field. The Tigers then reached the season-high in hits put on Oklahoma (8) – and an error at third base loaded the bases with one out. Aby Vieira struck out and JoJo Hyatt lined out, however, to make it nine Tigers left on base for the game.

The Sooners were back at it quickly in the bottom half of the inning to load up the bases on the first four pitches, where Haley Lee then knocked a grand slam over the center field wall and made it 8-2 Oklahoma, ending Clemson ace Valerie Cagle’s day. Cagle’s final line had seven of eight runs charged to her over seven hits with two strikeouts to one walk.

Still in the fifth inning, Alyssa Brito greeted Clemson reliever Millie Thompson with a solo shot to leave the Sooners one short of a run-rule victory.

Clemson seeks to stave off elimination in a 1 p.m. ET game on Saturday (ESPN).

The back-to-back national champion Sooners (55-1) matched the longest winning streak in Division 1 history at 47 games (tied with Arizona from 1996-97). Oklahoma is unbeaten at home this season and 114-2 there over the last five campaigns.

The win was a 22nd for Oklahoma over a ranked opponent this season. Clemson (49-11) dropped to 6-9 versus Top 25 teams and 0-5 against Top 10 foes.

Cagle (25-7) limited the prolific Oklahoma offense to one hit through the first three innings, but the fielding around her left some to be desired as the Sooners jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

On Cagle’s first pitch of the game, OU’s Jayda Coleman hit a double to left field that hit left fielder Ally Miklesh’s glove and fell to the fence, and Coleman then scored by way of two productive outs.

After an error at shortstop extended the second inning, a passed ball went in and out of Vieira’s glove and scored Oklahoma’s Alynah Torres.

Clemson’s bats made Oklahoma work but couldn’t deal any knockout blows through the first four innings.

The Tigers’ first four hits came by way of a two-out knock over the first three frames, but all four were stranded – three in scoring position.

Clemson’s leadoff hitter in the fourth frame reached base after being hit by a pitch, but after Vieira’s one-out single put two aboard again, Oklahoma’s Jordy Bahl (17-1) worked out of it with her fifth strikeout and then a foul-out.

Bahl went 5 1/3 innings total, scattering eight hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

With two out after Cagle gave up her second hit of the day, Oklahoma first baseman Cydney Sanders skied a two-run homer to left field to make it 4-0 Sooners in the fourth inning.

The national player of the year finalist and ACC player of the year Cagle gave up only three earned runs over 17 innings pitched in the Clemson Regional.


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