Softball falls 3-2 to Oklahoma in first game of world series
May 31, 2019
In any sport, when the lights shine the brightest, a team needs every player to contribute in clutch situations.
In the Oklahoma-Alabama game, junior center fielder Nicole Mendes came through for the Sooners with the game-winning RBI as Oklahoma defeated Alabama 3-2.
Mendes, who was hitting .353 coming into the game, got a hold of a 3-1 pitch from freshman Montana Fouts and laced it off the center field wall for an RBI-triple.
“I like to compete,” Mendes said. “This is where the biggest teams come to compete. I don’t know, it just brings something out in me, I just get really excited and really amped up.”
The game between the Sooners and the Crimson Tide was close throughout as both teams wrestled for momentum. Alabama battled back in the third inning and again in the fifth to tie the game after Oklahoma took a lead in the game, but could not get the hit to put them over the hump.
“We just needed one more hit to go our way,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “Claire [Jenkins]’ or Elissa [Brown]’s [plays] in the last inning, they made two good plays. You look down and you see two triples; that doesn’t happen very often, and they had two triples.”
The Sooners took advantage of the mistakes made by Fouts, albeit there were not too many. In the bottom of the first inning, the freshman threw 21 pitches and conceded the first run of the game.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Fouts said. “I think I wasn’t really trusting my stuff until later in the game.”
Fouts did settle in later in the game as she would keep Alabama afloat by stranding five runners against an Oklahoma team that averages seven runs per game, which leads the nation. Fouts also got some help offensively, most noteworthy from Jenkins. The junior shortstop was hitless in the past 10 games but drove the offense for Alabama as she went 2-for-3 with a solo home run.
“After the first hit, I was in the dugout and I was like, ‘Here we go, we’re ready. Let’s keep rolling,’” Jenkins said.
The Cullman, Alabama native hit her 13th home run off of ex-teammate on the Birmingham Thunderbolts, junior Giselle Jaurez.
“It was a lot of fun,” Jenkins said. “Just knowing that I played her, knowing I had hit at-bats off of practice before. It was just fun going out there, then getting to go that off of someone that I used to play with.”
With the loss, Alabama moves into the loser’s bracket and will face the Florida Gators on Saturday, June 1. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.