Oklahoma press conference after Game One win over Tennessee
OKLAHOMA CITY — The longest game in Tennessee softball history was also one of the cruelest.
“It’s a quick turn-around,’’ shortstop Madison Shipman said Monday night, “so you don’t dwell on it.’’
Oklahoma’s 5-3 win in 12 innings in Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series championship round overturned what would have been one of Tennessee’s greatest wins.
The Lady Vols put up a 3-0 lead in the top of the 11th against the No. 1 seed Sooners on Shipman’s three-run home run that broke up a scoreless pitchers’ duel.
But Tennessee couldn’t protect it. The Sooners got three in the bottom of the 11th and then Lauren Chamberlain’s walk-off two-run home run in the 12th.
Game 2 is tonight at 8 p.m. (TV: ESPN) and Tennessee (52-11) has to be at full strength, physically and emotionally, to have a chance of extending the best-of-three series to Wednesday night.
The battle cry after the loss Monday night was: Just flush it.
In other words, move on and move on now.
But Tennessee moves on to face the most imposing team in the country. Oklahoma (56-4) leads the nation in several offensive categories.
For Ellen Renfroe to shut out the Sooners for 10 innings was impressive to both teams.
“She was really spinning the ball,’’ said Chamberlain.
“Her rise ball is so awesome. She had a really good mix,’’ Oklahoma left-fielder Brianna Turang said.
Renfroe said facing Oklahoma was taxing more on the mind than the arm.
“More than anything,’’ Renfroe said, “it’s just emotional. Because there’s no break in the Oklahoma lineup.
“It’s like every single pitch, it’s all you’ve got. If you don’t give everything, it’s gonna get hit out, something bad’s gonna happen.’’
And that’s how it ended.
Now, Game 2.
Keilani Ricketts (35-1) said she expected to start again tonight for the Sooners even after throwing 188 pitches.
“Why not? It’s’ the national championship,’’ Ricketts said.
Oklahoma’s other starter, Michellel Gascoigne, is 18-3 with a 0.92 ERA.
For Tennessee, Ivy Renfroe is rested after pitching only 4.2 innings in the WCWS. That was Sunday against Texas.
Ellen Renfroe has pitched 28.1 innings. She threw 180 pitches Monday night.
The Lady Vols got out of the hotel Tuesday morning to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial that commemorates the 1995 bombing.
Tonight, they’re back at Hall of Fame Stadium, trying to extend the season one more night.