Paige Parker throws shutout as Oklahoma stays alive in WCWS
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Things returned to normal for Paige Parker on Saturday.
The senior threw a two-hitter, and Oklahoma defeated Arizona State 2-0 in an elimination game at the Women’s College World Series.
Parker entered the week with a career 8-0 World Series record, but she lost to Washington on Thursday despite giving up just one run. Against Arizona State, she threw 78 pitches and struck out seven in a complete game.
”Today was just going out there giving my team a chance to win,” Parker said. ”Defense was fantastic today. The last couple of innings I knew I needed to step it up a notch and really go into shutdown mode and try to be efficient today and go after hitters and stay ahead in counts.”
Oklahoma (56-4) will play Florida in an elimination game later in the day. The Sooners have won three of the past five national titles while Florida has won the other two. Oklahoma is trying to join UCLA as the only programs to win three straight national titles.
Oklahoma expects a battle from the second-seeded Gators.
”They’re tough,” Parker said. ”They’re very, very tough. Great pitching staff. Great hitters. Great defense. They’re a really tough team.”
Jocelyn Alo’s solo homer in the third, her nation-leading 29th of the season, gave Oklahoma a 1-0 lead.
”At the end of the day, I’ve got to tip my hat,” Arizona State pitcher Giselle ”G” Juarez said. ”She did her job on my mistake.”
Lea Wodach’s RBI single in the sixth put the Sooners up 2-0.
”We were just trying to get another run,” Wodach said. ”I know having one run is just always uneasy. You just never think any amount of runs is enough. So I was just trying to go up there and find a way to squeak the ball through, literally squeak it through.”
Juarez lost despite giving up just one run and four hits in four innings. Danielle Gibson and DeNae Chatman were the only Sun Devils with hits.
It was a disappointing end for Arizona State (48-13), which reached the World Series for the first time since 2013.
”You will see us here again,” Juarez said. ”We’re a really gritty team, and we’re excited because we see where we’re going.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .