Northwestern Softball knew just how formidable 54-2, No. 1 Oklahoma would be ahead of its first Women’s College World Series matchup in 15 years. The Sooners proved their mettle to open their time in Oklahoma City, beating Northwestern 13-2 in just five innings.
OU’s win was catalyzed by Jana Johns, who had five RBIs, as well as Tiare Jennings, who hit the first grand slam of the game as part of a six-run Sooner fourth inning. Wildcats ace Danielle Williams gave up six runs in three innings, throwing 67 pitches.
In their first look at Hope Trautwein, the ‘Cats went quietly, stranding Rachel Lewis after a one-out walk. Williams’ first inning was similar: the senior rebounded after a walk to Jocelyn Alo, striking out Jayda Coleman and Grace Lyons.
The top of the second paralleled the first. Angela Zedak drew a walk with one gone, but Hannah Cady popped up and Sydney Supple struck out swinging.
The game's first hit came from OU’s Lynnsie Elam in the bottom of the second, but her spot on base was quickly erased after a double play by Hannah Cady on a line drive hit by Kinzie Hansen. Williams finished the second with a swinging strikeout of Alyssa Brito, keeping the score knotted at 0-0.
Trautwein began the third by fanning Grace Nieto and Shellmyer swinging, but the righty was no match for Lewis. The grad student launched a ball deep into left field for a home run to give Northwestern a 1-0 lead; the long ball was Lewis’ 23rd of the year, tying the program record. Through three innings, Trautwein had already matched a season-high with four walks, her pitch count at 61.
The Sooners responded to Lewis in a hurry, though. A leadoff double from Rylie Boone was followed by a Johns single up the middle to tie the game.
Williams’ third-inning jam continued, surrendering a single to Coleman and walking Alo on four pitches. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Jennings drilled the ball into center, clearing the wall for a go-ahead grand slam, giving the Sooners a 5-1 lead.
OU wasn’t done. Lyons singled, Hansen walked, and Boone drove in Lyons on a seeing-eye single as Oklahoma batted around. Patty Gasso’s team held a 6-1 lead after three.
Trautwein took the circle in the fourth with a vengeance, securing a 1-2-3 frame via flyouts from Zedak and Cady and a punchout of pinch-hitter Lauren Caldrone.
Williams was relieved by Lauren Dvorak in the fourth inning, but Oklahoma’s third trip through the lineup proved just as daunting: Coleman collected a leadoff walk, and Alo followed by a single. A Jennings walk catalyzed a two-run single from Lyons, making it 8-1 OU.
Sydney Supple came in to pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth. The Sooners tacked on their ninth run following a hit-by-pitch that grazed Boone’s arm strap for her second RBI of the day. Then, the floodgates truly opened when Johns lifted a ball to right field for Oklahoma’s second grand slam.
With OU up twelve runs, the run-rule became in effect in the top of the fifth. Despite a leadoff walk from Kendall Peterson, Trautwein struck out Shellmyer and Lewis swinging.
Freshman phenom Jordy Bahl made her return to the circle, where she walked Jordyn Rudd and gave up an RBI single to Maeve Nelson, sending Nieto home. It wasn’t enough, though, as a grounder from Nikki Cuchran ended the game.
After falling to Oklahoma, Northwestern will face UCLA Friday at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN2 in the loser’s bracket, where the Wildcats will attempt to avoid elimination.