Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Brittany Perez delivered a two-run home run with two out in the seventh inning to propel Oklahoma City University past top-ranked USAO 3-1 on Tuesday at Killian Sports Complex in the NAIA Softball World Series.
The third-ranked Stars (60-7) meet fourth-ranked Southern Oregon (51-7) at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Oklahoma City will gun for the program’s 11th national championship.
OCU needs two victories over Southern Oregon to take the national crown. Southern Oregon edged the Stars 4-2 on Monday to reach the national title game.
Oklahoma City reached the national title contest for the 16th time in program history. OCU owns national championships won in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2016 and 2017 while finishing as national runner-up in 1986, 1993, 1999, 2010 and 2012. OCU has a 130-48 record in 32 World Series appearances. OCU notched its seventh 60-win season.
Phil McSpadden has guided OCU to all 10 of its national titles in his 32nd year as head coach. McSpadden has taken OCU to a national title game appearance for the 15th time. He has led OCU to four national runner-up finishes and 30 World Series trips. He has the most victories against four-year competition among college softball coaches with his 1,726-383 mark.
USAO fell short of a second consecutive national championship. The Drovers (59-4) took third place in the World Series with a single-season program record for wins. USAO set up the all-Sooner Athletic Conference affair in the World Series with a 6-1 win over eighth-ranked Georgia Gwinnett earlier Tuesday. The Stars improved to 2-4 against USAO this year after nipping the Drovers 1-0 on May 5 for the SAC Tournament title.
Perez, a senior from Ventura, Calif., crushed a full-count pitch beyond the left-field wall with Kennedy Jackson on second base to break a 1-1 tie with two away in the seventh against Emily Cerny, who has been one of the country’s dominant pitchers this year for the Drovers. Jackson led off the top of the inning with an infield hit. Perez hit her 10th homer of the year.
Jackson belted a double into left-center field to open the game. Jackson stole third base, then wheeled into home plate after catcher Darci Chester’s throw flew into left field.
USAO knotted the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Karlie Velasco scored as Perez caught a fly ball by Destinie Lookout, but bounced the relay throw past her cutoff. Smith recovered the ball along the third-base foul line.
Jaden Shores outdueled Cerny to post the victory and move to 32-5 on the year. Shores, a junior from Blanchard, Okla., escaped bases-loaded jams in the first, second and fifth innings. Shores struck out four and walked five.
Cerny fell to 28-4. Cerny struck out two and held OCU to five hits and five walks.
OCU turned a double play in the fourth as Dakota Clouse lined out to Morgan McCallum at third. McCallum threw across the diamond to catch Velasco off first base to get out of the inning.
Jackson went 2-for-2 and scored twice. Jackson, a sophomore from Moore, Okla., swiped her 55th base of the year. Shores and Jaci Smith had OCU’s other hits.
Keely Kingsly had a 2-for-3 performance for USAO. Kristen Prieto nailed a double off the left-field wall next to the foul line leading off the fifth.
NAIA Softball World Series
At Springfield, Mo.
Killian Sports Complex
All Times CDT
Mobile (Ala.) 3, Oregon Tech 2
Georgia Gwinnett 2, Vanguard (Calif.) 1
Southern Oregon 4, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 3
Oklahoma City 4, Valley City State (N.D.) 0
Marian (Ind.) 2, Mobile 1
USAO 4, Georgia Gwinnett 1
Lindsey Wilson 2, Vanguard 0, Vanguard eliminated
Oregon Tech 7, Valley City State 1, Valley City St. eliminated
Southern Oregon 4, USAO 0
Oklahoma City 3, Marian 0
Lindsey Wilson 9, Mobile 1, Mobile eliminated
Georgia Gwinnett 5, Oregon Tech 1, Oregon Tech eliminated
USAO 2, Lindsey Wilson 0, Lindsey Wilson eliminated
Georgia Gwinnett 1, Marian 0, Marian eliminated
Southern Oregon 4, Oklahoma City 2
USAO 6, Georgia Gwinnett 1, Georgia Gwinnett eliminated
Oklahoma City 3, USAO 1, USAO eliminated
Game 18: Oklahoma City vs. Southern Oregon, 9 a.m.
Game 19: If necessary, 10:30 a.m.