NORMAN, Okla. –
The No. 16 seeded Clemson Tigers had the top seeded Oklahoma Sooners on the ropes but dropped an 8-7 nail biter in extra innings to end the season. The Tigers, who had home runs hit by Maddie Moore and McKenzie Clark, rallied back to take the lead in the fifth inning but weren’t able to hold on in extra innings. Clemson is only the second team this season to force Oklahoma to extra innings, plated the most runs the Sooners have allowed all year and clocked eight hits in back-to-back games.
Clemson concluded the season with a 49-12 overall record, the most wins in a single season in the program’s short infancy. Additional accomplishments from the year include maintaining a 23-game win streak from Feb. 26 to April 6 for the longest streak to date for the Tigers.
As the designated home team, Clemson started the game in the field with the Sooners at the plate. Oklahoma took the early advantage, leading off the game hitting back-to-back home runs for a 2-0 lead. The Tigers settled in defensively to make two bang-bang outs, including a 6-5-4 turn to get a leadoff runner for the second out, and an 8-6-2 to tag a runner attempting to add an additional run, that ended the inning.
Sophomore Brooke McCubbin settled into the circle in the top of the second inning picking up three quick outs, including two strikeouts to open the inning. She forced a popup to second to end the inning. The Tigers clocked their first hits of the game in the bottom of the third as Aby Vieira and Reedy Davenport recorded singles to put two on with one out. Clark made solid contact with a ball that Oklahoma’s second baseman made a jumping catch to grab and was able to flip it to second to turn the double play.
The Sooners added a third run off another home run and loaded the bases to bring home one additional run to make it 4-0. Clemson pulled back within one in the bottom half of the inning after Caroline Jacobsen ripped a two-out double down the third base line. Alia Logoleo joined her on the bases with a walk, and the sophomore Moore stepped up to the plate and sent a three-run shot out of left field to make it 4-3 after four.
Clemson forced Oklahoma down in order in the top of the fifth and used that momentum to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. It began with designated player Jadeyn Ruszkowski ripping a single up the middle of the field. Davenport advanced Ansley Houston, who was running for Ruszkowski, to second on a sac bunt, and Clark sent a two-run shot out of center to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
The offensive power didn’t stop there as Ally Miklesh was hit by a pitch, Valerie Cagle sent a single up the middle and Jacobsen drew a walk to load the bases. Still with only one out, Logoleo drew a walk to bring home Miklesh. Moore added one more run sending a hard chopper back at Oklahoma’s pitcher that allowed Arielle Oda to score, who was running for Cagle, to make it 7-4 in Clemson’s favor after five.
The Sooners battled back in the top of the seventh to even things at 7-all. With two batters tallying singles, Oklahoma sent a three-run shot out of left with two outs before the Tigers could end the inning. Clemson wasn’t able to respond in the bottom half of the inning, forcing extras.
With neither side getting a runner in the eighth inning, it forced a side to break things open in the ninth. Oklahoma did that with a leadoff home run to make it 8-7. Clark attempted to spark the Tigers in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out base hit but was left stranded as Oklahoma took game two, 8-7, to advance to the Women’s College World Series.
McCubbin started in the circle for the Tigers and pitched 3.1 innings with two strikeouts before Millie Thompson replaced her. Thompson pitched 1.2 innings and faced eight batters before she was replaced. Cagle pitched three innings before Regan Spencer replaced her in the top of the ninth, allowing a walk and nothing else.