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Operation Sink the Sooners: Game Thread

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#4 Oklahoma fights through the elimination bracket to earn a rematch with #5 Washington. Huskies need 1 win and have 2 chances to get it.

Edward Strong

5th-ranked Husky Softball is one win away from a spot in the championship series.

To get there, they'll have to hammer the final nail in the coffin of the 2-time defending champs.

Schedule

10 a.m., ESPN: #4 Oklahoma (road) vs #5 Washington (home)

4 p.m., ESPN2 (if OU wins early game): #5 Washington (road) vs #4 Oklahoma (home)

Oklahoma picked up back-to-back shutouts of #8 Arizona State and #2 Florida on Saturday to get to the semifinal. Oddly, that means OU has been part of 3 straight 2-0 shutouts in Oklahoma City.

The other semifinal has #3 UCLA needing just one of two vs #6 Florida State (12:30 p.m. on ESPN, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2 if necessary).

Interestingly, both matchups are rematches from the opening round. In addition to UW's 2-0 shutout of the "host" Sooners, the Bruins escaped a 4-0 deficit to take out FSU 7-4 on Thursday night.

Scouting OU

Paige Parker pitched back-to-back complete games for OU on Saturday. I wouldn't expect OU Head Coach Patty Gasso to attempt to have her complete games in two days, but she absolutely will still be out there for some, if not a majority of the game(s).

Pitching style-wise, Parker is to Paige Lowary what Gabbie Plain is to Taran Alvelo. Parker gets more strikeouts than Plain does, but both throw not as hard (low to mid 60s) but with tons of spin and good control down in the zone. Lowary and Alvelo both throw very hard and will challenge hitters to chase riseballs above the letters. If/when Lowary is in the circle, keep an eye on the radar gun. Only pitcher in the WCWS — and maybe the country — who can hit 72, even 73 mph. Alvelo doesn't throw quite that hard, but around 69-70.

Offensively, priority 1A has to be not letting 2-hitter Jocelyn Alo win the game single-handedly. Florida issued two intentional walks to her, including one in what is almost never an IBB situation: runner at first with two outs. It's generally viewed as bad strategy because you're pushing a runner into scoring position. But Alo (NCAA record-tying 30 HR as a freshman) is so good that not only was walking her a defensible strategy, I personally agreed with the decision (FWIW, that IBB worked, while the 2nd one failed only because of a dropped strike three with the bases loaded).

Finish them off, Dawgs.