May 28, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - California was first on the board Friday evening but ended up needing eight innings to top Oklahoma, 2-1, in Women's College World Series competition at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Bears advanced in the winner's bracket with the victory and will enjoy a day off Saturday before returning to action Sunday in a semifinal contest at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. Cal's record improved to 52-11 overall and 6-0 in the postseason with the win.
Oklahoma (45-21-1 overall) threatened early in the game, gathering one hit and stranding two in the first and collecting another hit and stranding three in the second. But it would be California striking first, as first-team All-American junior 3B Vicky Galindo sent a 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall for her second home run of the postseason and her seventh of the year.
Starting pitcher sophomore Kristina Thorson continued to fight off Oklahoma throughout the first three innings and retired the side in the fourth before the Sooners were able to put a run across the plate in the fifth. A hit and two errors allowed Kristin Vesely to tie the game before Thorson could stop the bleeding, stranding two on base. Thorson uncharacteristically hit four batters through 5.1 innings of work, a season-high for the hurler who had never before hit more than one in a game. Oklahoma appeared to be crowding the plate on more than one occasion against Thorson, with the four hit batters tying a season high for the Sooners.
Junior P Kelly Anderson, the ace of last year's WCWS run, came in to relieve Thorson in the sixth following a one-out double down the right field line by Oklahoma's starting pitcher, Kami Keiter. Taking charge of the game, Anderson forced the next six Sooners she faced into groundouts and struck out two, allowing just one hit with two outs in the top of the eighth before striking out Keiter to end the inning.
Galindo led off the bottom of the eighth for Cal with a walk and advanced to second on sophomore LF Lindsay James' bunt single. Sophomore C Haley Woods followed, reaching base on a fielding error at third base that allowed Galindo to slide in behind the play. That set the table for junior CF Kaleo Eldredge, who ripped a shot into center field that was caught for the inning's first out but was then errantly thrown back toward the plate where Galindo was making her way to score the winning run, making the touch just ahead of the ball.
Anderson picked up the win for California, improving to 24-8 on the season following 2.2 innings of clutch work for the Bears. Keiter (21-14) took the loss for Oklahoma.
California now awaits the winner of two loser's bracket games to be played Saturday, the first between Washington and Florida State at 3 p.m. CT (ESPN2) and the second with that winner versus LSU at 8 p.m. CT (ESPN).
California Softball Result: Oklahoma 000 010 00 - 1 6 2 California 001 000 01 - 2 4 2 Keiter and Scaglione. Thorson, Anderson (6) and Woods. W - Anderson 24-8. L - Keiter 21-14. Save - None. HR - Galindo (Cal).
Records: Oklahoma 45-21-1 California 52-11