By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY – In three years at Texas A&M Samantha Show never came close to playing in the Women’s College World Series. So as she entered the 2019 WCWS with Oklahoma State, it would have been understandable if the Texas native was jittery.
However, Show was far from that. The right-handed hurler led OSU to a 2-1 win over Florida Thursday in their opening game of the WCWS at USA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Show was 2-for-3 from the plate with two homers. The rest of the Cowgirls were held hitless.
Show also picked up the complete-game victory after allowing six hits and one run.
“I’m super excited for her,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. “But I’ll be honest, she doesn’t care. She wants this team and this program that gave her kind of the second chance. She was a star when she got here. Her first year at A&M, she was unreal. She was a bona fide star. She’s a bona fide All-American. She’s one of the best players in the country.”
After being shut down for the entire night, the UF began to show life in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophia Reynoso and Jordan Roberts came up with back to back singles to start the inning before Jade Caraway and Jordan Matthews both hit into fielder choices.
That set up Alex Voss with an opportunity to save the game. The senior came to the plate with two outs on the board and the tying run at third base.
But Show was just as strong on the mound as she was at the plate. She got Voss to ground out and end the game.
Along with only allowing two hits, Barnhill (34-13) struck out nine batters. But she knows she made a pair of mistakes a veteran pitcher can’t make.
“You don’t give her anything good to hit,” Barnhill said of Show. “I was trying to throw a screwball inside and I left it down the middle. She hit it them hard and far.”
To keep their season alive, Florida has to get by fellow SEC foe Alabama when they tangle at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Tide won the regular season series 3-0.
Oklahoma 3, Alabama 2
The Sooners and Tide were all knotted up at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Jocelyn led off the inning for the Sooners with a walk. Two batters later Nicole Mendes laced a triple to the centerfield wall to plate a run and put Oklahoma up by a run.
Throughout her career Mendes has had a knack for coming up with big plays at the WCWS.
“I like to compete,” Mendes said. “And this is where the biggest teams come to compete. It just brings something out in me. I just get really excited and amped up.”
Giselle Juarez didn’t have her best stuff on the mound, but in the seventh inning she was good enough. She used her defense to close out the game and hand the Sooners the victory.
Juarez bounced back from a shaky start that included giving up a homer to pick up her 27th win of the season.
“Key I guess was just letting it go, just not letting it affect our game. Looking forward” Juarez said. “
“Moving onto the next pitch.”
The win sets up an All-Big 12 meeting between the two local teams at the WCWS. The top-ranked Sooners will take on Oklahoma State at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The Sooners swept the season series 3-0.
“OSU is a great team,” Sydney Romero said. “I just think the cool part about it is you have two Oklahoma teams playing in the World Series. Just the fact that both of thee teams are from Oklahoma, I think it just says a lot of stuff.”
Arizona 3, Washington 1 (8)
Arizona and Washington had a pitching duel for the first five innings of their opening game. But then the Wildcats Jessie Harper decided to interject some offense into the game. The junior crushed a solo homer to give UA a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth.
However, that lead was short-lived. The Huskies Sami Reynolds blasted a homer on the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1.
The teams stayed scoreless until the top of the eighth inning when junior Dejah Mulipola sent a 2-run blast over the centerfield fence off Taran Alvelo. It turned out to be the game-winner with the Huskies unable to respond in the bottom of the inning.
“Facing Alvelo in my first couple at-bats, I knew she was throwing me out,” Mulipola said. “I was sitting on that. I think she understood I was sitting on that. She started coming in the next few at-bats. I was trying to breathe, see a pitch. I happened to see one. Actually, I didn’t think it was out. When I tell that to everyone, they don’t believe me. That’s why I was so excited running around first base when it did go over.”
Washington, who made it to the championship series last year, will have its season on the line when they take the field at 11 a.m. Saturday against Minnesota.
“We’re just glad we get to play again,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said. “It would be awful if that was our last game. We’re happy we get to play again.”
UCLA 7, Minnesota 2
It didn’t take the Bruins long to get on the board. Bubba Nickles crushed a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first inning.
“I think it was really crucial to get our momentum going,” Nickles said. “I just wanted to come out for them the best I could, and have a quality at-bat, really. Wasn’t trying to hit a home run. It worked out to get us ahead.”
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead and looked on their way to an easy win. But the Gophers closed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth on a pair of RBIs from Natalie DenHartog and Allie Arneson.
However, UCLA responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs. That included a 3-run shot by Aaliyah Jordan to put the contest away.
“It felt good,” Jordan said. “I mean, I had a plan going up first at-bat, I didn’t get what I wanted. I think staying positive throughout these three at-bats, coming up the last at-bat get the pitch I wanted felt good.”
The Bruins will face Arizona Friday at 6 p.m.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Copywriter/Content Creator