NORMAN, Okla. — The end of the road finally arrived for senior pitcher Gabbie Plain and the No. 16 Washington softball team Saturday afternoon in Norman, Oklahoma.
Unlike Friday afternoon’s self-imposed collapse, the UW ran into No. 1 Oklahoma’s juggernaut offense.
The Sooners put runs on the scoreboard in the game’s first five innings, showing off their power, as their season drew to a close in the Norman Super Regionals with a 9-1 loss.
First inning struggles once again consumed Plain (32-4), but instead of hitting batters like Friday, Oklahoma’s bats found the ball.
Two straight hits led off the inning, putting runners on the corners with no outs, and the Sooners (50-2, 16-1 Big 12) eventually scored on a wild pitch to take a 1-0 lead before the Huskies (45-15, 18-5 Pac-12) even got a chance to bat.
In the second inning, a tight strike zone harmed Plain, as she walked three consecutive batters, the last of which brought in the second Oklahoma run of the game.
After Plain’s command issues, Washington opted to go to its bullpen, trotting out senior left-hander Pat Moore for the third inning. Retiring the first two batters she faced, Moore was just one strike away from a 1-2-3 inning, but allowed a walk. Then, the Sooners’ power emerged.
Jana Jacobs smoked a 3-2 pitch deep over the wall in left-center field, putting Washington in a deep 4-0 hole.
A third inning RBI-single from Washington junior Baylee Klingler didn’t do much back, as Oklahoma displayed its powerful bats in the fourth.
Moore walked the lead off batter in the fourth inning, setting the stage for Plain to re-enter and face fellow USA Softball Player of the Year Finalist Jocelyn Alo. Yet again, Plain was on the losing end of the battle, as Alo hit a home run for the second consecutive day, extending the OU lead to 6-1.
That wasn’t it for the Sooners in the inning. Kinzie Hansen followed two batters later with a solo shot, putting Washington in a six-run hole.
The run-rule came into play in the fifth inning. Two Oklahoma RBIs brought the score to 9-1 and Washington was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning, ending the day with just four hits and one run.
Also ending was the Huskies’ stretch of four straight Women’s College World Series appearances.
Now, Washington must fill a lot of holes in the offseason. Sis Bates, Morganne Flores, Taryn Atlee, Pat Moore, and possibly Noelle Hee among others are all graduating, and the UW will look to build behind the arm of Plain and the bats of Klingler and Sami Reynolds in 2022.
Reach Co-Sports Editor Anthony Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @edwardsanthonyb
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