OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma All-American Jordy Bahl continued her dominance of the pitcher’s circle with a complete game shutout as the Sooners defeated Florida State 5-0 in the first game of the Women’s College World Series championship series Thursday night.
Bahl extended her scoreless streak during the WCWS to 21⅔ innings, the highest since Fresno State’s Amanda Scott in 1998.
As icing on the cake, Bahl also hit the first run of the game while pinching in the fourth inning for Haley Lee, who went from first to home with a Kinzie-Hansen double on the midfield wall.
“Jordy was just absolutely exceptional,” said OU coach Patty Gasso.
Gasso acknowledged that the Sooners need to be careful not to overuse Bahl, but said, “She’s feeling it right now.”
“She was created to be able to do that,” Gasso said of Bahl’s four appearances during WCWS. “She wants the ball like it’s nobody’s business. Not that we don’t have faith in our other pitchers. It’s just that she’s a very, very hot pitcher right now. She’s throwing the best she can all season at the moment.”
Bahl said she was nervous as she and her teammates waited out two early weather delays in the dressing room.
“I was pacing a lot just trying to stay mentally trapped,” she said. “Something like, ‘Okay, when do we start playing? Will you cancel?’ I was very worried about what would happen.
Bahl allowed just two hits and knocked out ten batters in seven innings. She improved to 22-1 this season with a 0.92 ERA.
“I mean, she’s got a real rise, drop and switch,” said FSU pitcher Mack Leonard, who won 2-0 at the plate. “She’s a really good pitcher, really competitive. She’s got a really strong World Series right now. I think she’s a great performer as an athlete. And when you’re that competitive and you have three phenomenal pitches right off the hip.” And you’ve got such a defense, I mean, it’s pretty hard to go up against that.
“But we can make adjustments. We can come out of it better tomorrow.”
FSU coach Lonni Alameda threw a sort of curveball to Oklahoma by not starting top pitcher Kathryn Sandercock and instead betting on Leonard, who had pitched fewer than 40 innings this season.
Leonard gave up no earned runs in three innings. But then the wheels loosened after she hit Lee with a pitch and handed an RBI double to Hansen.
Makenna Reid tried to stop the bleeding but allowed two more runs.
Leonard said she trusts Alameda to make the right decisions.
“I believe in Coach and what she needs to do,” she said. “Honestly, I think a lot of people are going to have their say on this, and I think that’s great. Great you guys have opinions but I also think we all trust each other.”
Alameda said the good thing about a best-of-three series is that you can make adjustments after Game 1.
“So I think it comes down to what we’ve been doing all season versus the tournament mentality,” Alameda said. “We have to play our game. That’s all we have with our backs to the wall. And yet it was an incredible season. So that we are where we are right now, I said to the children: ‘Don’ don’t let your head hang down. It’s been an incredible season. They are a great ball club. It’s a great environment. We’ve outgrown ourselves a bit. Let’s be better tomorrow and drop the chips where they fall.”