Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
CLERMONT, Fla. – Oklahoma City University’s bid for a third consecutive national championship ended with a 3-2 loss to Southern Oregon on Wednesday night at Legends Way Ballfields in the NAIA Softball World Series.
The Stars finished tied for third place in the World Series for the fourth time in program history. Second-ranked OCU completed the year with its sixth consecutive 50-win season at 53-9.
Oklahoma City stood among the final four teams for the 21st time. OCU’s record in NAIA Softball World Series play fell to 127-47 in its 31st appearance. Oklahoma City has captured 10 national titles in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2016 and 2017.
Tayler Walker reached base on a walk with the bases full with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning to make the difference for eighth-ranked Southern Oregon (51-14).
In the fifth, Harlee Donovan of Southern Oregon drew a walk to load the bases, but Abby Meador responded by striking out Rebecca Velasquez. Walker followed with the base on balls. Meador retired Karlee Coughlin on a groundout to end the inning.
The Stars grabbed an early first-inning lead. Kennedy Jackson led off with an infield hit, then Julianne Abeloe’s sacrifice bunt moved Jackson to second base. Jackson swiped third base and scored on the catcher Donovan’s wild throw.
Southern Oregon went ahead 2-1 on single runs in the second and third. Olivia Mackey had an RBI single in the second, and Kelsey Randall reached home plate on an error in the third.
OCU’s Baileigh Loux poked a single through the middle of the infield to allow Brittany Perez to score from second base to tie the score at 2-2 in the fourth inning.
Jackson, a freshman from Moore, Okla., delivered a 2-for-3 night with a run scored and her 41st stolen base of the year, while Loux, a freshman from Reno, Nev., went 1-for-3 with a run driven in. Montana Price, a redshirt freshman from Bethel, Okla., was 1-for-3, and Bailey Whitmore, a junior from Oklahoma City, chipped in a 1-for-3 performance.
Jaden Shores, a sophomore from Blanchard, Okla., pitched the first 4.1 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and a walk with one strikeout. Meador, a senior from Midwest City, Okla., went the last 1.2 innings and took the loss, moving to 15-3 on the year. Gabby Sandoval (27-6) collected the win, limiting OCU to two runs on five hits without a strikeout.
Due to inclement weather in the area, play in the NAIA Softball World Series started around 8:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday. After USAO topped Columbia (Mo.) 7-6 in nine innings, the Stars’ contest vs. Southern Oregon began 10:30 p.m. local time and ended 12:26 a.m. EDT. Columbia eliminated Southern Oregon 6-2 for the chance to play USAO for the national championship. That game started approximately 1 a.m. EDT and ended at 2:46 a.m. The national championship game starts 1:30 p.m. EDT (12:30 p.m. CDT) Thursday.
Meador and fellow senior Laci Joyner contributed to Oklahoma City’s 243-19 record with two national championships, three NAIA Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City titles and trips to the NAIA Softball World Series, four Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season titles and two SAC Tournament crowns over the past four years.
NAIA Softball World Series
At Clermont, Fla.
Legends Way Ballfields
All Times CDT
Columbia (Mo.) 4, Mobile (Ala.) 1
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 4, Faulkner (Ala.) 0
Science & Arts of Oklahoma 6, Indiana Wesleyan 0
Marian (Ind.) 10, Southern Oregon 6
Indiana Wesleyan 3, Faulkner 2, 8 inn., Faulkner eliminated
Southern Oregon 5, Mobile 3, Mobile eliminated
Columbia 6, Oklahoma City 4
Georgia Gwinnett 7, Freed-Hardeman 0
Oklahoma City 8, Indiana Wesleyan 7, 8 inn., Indiana Wesleyan eliminated
Southern Oregon 9, Freed-Hardeman 0, Freed-Hardeman eliminated
USAO 4, Georgia Gwinnett 1
Columbia 2, Marian 1
Oklahoma City 7, Georgia Gwinnett 2, Georgia Gwinnett eliminated
Southern Oregon 2, Marian 1, Marian eliminated
USAO 7, Columbia 6, 9 inn.
Southern Oregon 3, Oklahoma City 2, Oklahoma City eliminated
Columbia 6, Southern Oregon 2, So. Oregon eliminated
Game 18: Columbia vs. USAO, 12:30 p.m.
Game 19: If necessary, 45 minutes following Game 18