Special to Gatorsports.com
OKLAHOMA CITY — It was pitcher Paige Parker day Saturday at the Women’s College World Series.
Parker (31-3), fourth-seeded Oklahoma’s ace, allowed just two hits and two walks to help eliminate second-seed Florida 2-0. Parker, the four-time All-American and four-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, two-hit Arizona State 2-0 earlier Saturday to help oust the Sun Devils.
Florida, the SEC regular-season and tournament champion, saw its season end at 56-11. The Gators couldn’t solve Parker, who struck out eight, didn’t allow a base runner to reach second base and set down 13 of the last 14 batters she faced.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’ve got a pitcher, strike one all day long,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “Not strike one with one pitch, but strike one inside, outside curve, changeup, bounced the changeup when she wanted to, featuring a little bit of a rise. She was good. I give her all the credit. She really did a wonderful job.
“We squared up a couple balls and hit a couple balls hard, but weren’t able to get enough elevation to the one that Jaimie Hoover hit, and then Amanda (Lorenz), the first changeup in the first inning.”
The Sooners (57-4) will need to beat Washington twice Sunday to reach the championship series.
Kelly Barnhill’s bugaboo this season again bit her in the first inning when freshman Jocelyn Alo drilled her 30th home run of the season. Barnhill (29-3), an All-American herself, has allowed 21 home runs this season, three in two games here. Alo tied the Division I single-season freshman record for home runs, most recently set by Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain in 2012.
After issuing a walk to lead off the third inning, Walton replaced Barnhill with Aleshia Ocasio.
Oklahoma loaded the bases in the fifth inning with two outs. Florida walked Alo to bring up Shay Knighten. Though Knighten struck out, the pitch got away from catcher Janell Wheaton, allowing Caleigh Clifton to score and make it 2-0.
Seniors Kayli Kvistad and Wheaton had UF’s only hits, both singles.
It was the second straight year Parker has had a hand in finishing UF’s hopes of a national title. The Sooners swept the Gators in their best-of-three championship series to claim a second straight NCAA trophy last year.
The Sooners have won three of the past five national titles while Florida has won the other two. Oklahoma is trying to join UCLA as the only programs to win three straight national titles.
UF’s season ends at the WCWS for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons. The Gators will lament the events from Friday night’s UCLA game for a few days, a game they led 4-0 until the Bruins erupted for five runs on just one hit in the fourth inning. The Gators didn’t have a lead again to finish its tourney appearance.
Note: The Gators finished their season with 56 wins, the 10th 50+ win under Walton. Florida has won at least 50 games in each of the last six seasons. …
The 2018 senior class of Kvistad, Nicole DeWitt, Ocasio and Wheaton end their Florida career with a record of 230-35 (.867). The quartet of players have won one National Championship (2015), four SEC regular season championships (2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) and one SEC Tournament Championship (2018). … Lorenz finished the season reaching base in all 67 games. A feat that has never been accomplished by a Florida softball player.