- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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National championship No. 2 is within reach for Oklahoma.
The Sooners opened the championship series of the Women’s College World Series with a 4-1 victory over Alabama at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on Monday night. OU won its first softball title in 2000.
Turning point: After Alabama scored a run to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, OU answered. The Sooners scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning, scoring one run on Jessica Shults sacrifice fly and Brianna Turang’s fielder’s choice. OU manufacturing offense was key for the Sooners as OU’s four runs came on four hits combined in the fifth and sixth innings.
Player of the game: Keilani Ricketts. The junior continues to dominate from the mound, recording a complete game victory. She allowed one earned run and five hits while striking out 12 batters in seven innings pitched. Ricketts worked her way out of several scoring opportunities for the Crimson Tide, who left eight runners on base.
Unsung hero: Shults went 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs for the Sooners. Her sacrifice fly accounted for OU’s first run in the fifth inning and her one-run single in the sixth inning helped extend the lead.
Stat of the game: 12 left on base. The Sooners continued to leave runners on base, something that has become commonplace during their postseason run, yet pulled out the win anyway.
What it means: The Sooners are one win away from their second WCWS title, with Game 2 of the best-of-three series beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.