Wichita State’s Laurie Anne Derrico smashed a double into the gap, pulled into second base, clapped and yelled toward the Shockers dugout.
She knew her hit meant the top of the order would get to the plate, giving the Shockers a chance in the sixth inning, trailing by four runs with one out.
The moment ended quickly.
Mississippi pitcher Madi Osias, after walking No. 9 hitter Kelli Spring, needed three pitches to dispose of leadoff hitter Cacy Williams and Brittany Fortner. That ended WSU’s final threat on a long, hot day and handed the Rebels a 4-0 victory at Hynes Field. Osias, a senior, held the Shockers to two hits, walked two and struck out one, allowing two runners into scoring position.
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“The pitching showed up and the hitting didn’t,” WSU coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “Our hitters weren’t the hitters that we have had all year. We were very anxious, out in front. I don’t think we swung at a lot of good pitches.”
A history-making day ended quietly for the Shockers (36-21). Saturday afternoon, they defeated Tulsa 2-1 to win the program’s first NCAA game in three appearances. Pitcher Katie Malone, bouncing back from a rough Friday against Oklahoma, held Tulsa to four hits. That put them into Saturday night’s elimination game against the Rebels. Osias refused to let WSU’s offense get rolling and Mississippi inflicted four runs on the Shockers, barely needing to hit the ball out of the infield to do so.
Osias issued a leadoff walk to Macklin Hitz to start the second and then retired the next 12 hitters, most on weak pop flys. Williams led off the game with a single and was caught stealing with two outs. Macklin Hitz walked in the second and catcher Courtney Syrett picked her off first. No Shocker reached base again until Derrico’s double.
“She was throwing it up and keeping it up there,” WSU third baseman Liz Broyles. “We didn’t get on top of it, and that was it.”
Mississippi (41-21) will play Oklahoma at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, needing to beat the Sooners twice to win the regional and advance to a super regional.
The Rebels built a 1-0 lead without a ball out of the infield in the fourth inning. They extended the lead with three fifth-inning runs, feasting on two hit batsmen, two walks and two singles, one of which left the infield.
“Three times the ball went out in front of the plate and it worked out for us,” Mississippi coach Mike Smith said. “We're excited we had more runs than they did.”
Halley Lunderman led off the fourth inning with a bouncer to Williams, who had to range off first base to grab the ball and had no play at first. A bunt moved Lunderman to second. A wild pitch, lost behind catcher Mackenzie Wright, moved her to third. She scored on a swinging bunt by Miranda Strother, who beat pitcher Jenni Brooks’ throw to first.
With one out in the fifth, Brooks hit two batters. After a sacrifice bunt, she pitched around Lunderman to load the bases with a walk. Ashton Lampton poked a single into right to score a run for a 2-0 lead. Brooks walked Sarah Van Schaik on a 3-2 pitch to force in another run.
Brooks’ shoulders slumped at the call and she stared at umpire Chad Stears. The walk ended her night after the struck out four, matching her season high, and allowed four hits.
Bredbenner stuck with Brooks, believing she was capable of getting the groundball necessary to end the inning.
“Jenni’s been great all year,” Bredbenner said. “We felt like it was a good matchup.”
Malone replaced Brooks and another infield hit — Bredbenner protested it was a foul ball — by Strother allowed Lunderman to slide in safely for a 4-0 lead.
WSU 2, Tulsa 1 — Wichita State stayed alive with a win over Tulsa,. its first NCAA softball victory in three appearances.
On Friday, Oklahoma knocked Malone out in the first inning. Bredbenner didn’t hesitate to go back to the junior, based on her performances against Tulsa in two wins this season.
“I’m sure everybody in the country was wondering why we were starting Katie,” she said. “The bottom line is that Katie had their number.”
Malone held Tulsa to four hits and retired 10 straight hitters from the second through the fourth innings. She stranded runners in scoring position in the first, fifth and sixth. Tulsa loaded the bases in the sixth, scoring one run, before Malone ended the threat with a pop up to Broyles.
“Mainly, I just had to get my confidence back,” Malone said. “Coming back today, I just had to forget (Friday) and remember the times I have pitched well, and I’ve pitched well against Tulsa.”
Wichita State scored two runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Brittany Fortner and Broyles.
The Hurricane (35-21) cut WSU’s lead to 2-1 with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning.
Oklahoma 9, Mississippi 1 (5) - The Sooners (49-7) scored seven runs in the second inning to win their 24th straigh game and advance to Sunday’s championship round. Nicole Pendley homered and Shay Knighten went 3 for 3 and drove in four runs for OU.
2 8 1
1 4 1
W– Malone. L — Blevins.
WSU batting – Williams 1-3, Wright 1-4, Fortner 3-4, Adams 0-0, Broyles 1-4, Hitz 0-2, Luellen 0-3, Johnson 1-3, Derrico 0-3, Spring 1-3, Malone 0-0.
WSU pitching – Malone 7 IP-0 ER.
4 7 0
0 2 0
W – Osias. L — Brooks.
WSU batting – Williams 1-3, Fortner 0-3, Broyles 0-3, Hitz 0-2, Luellen 0-1, Adams 0-2, Wright 0-2, Johnson 0-2, Derrico 1-2, Spring 0-1, Brooks 0-0, Malone 0-0.
WSU pitching – Brooks 4 2/3-4, Malone 2 1/3-0.
at Norman, Okla.
- Game 1 — Mississippi 5, Tulsa 1
- Game 2 — Oklahoma 7, Wichita State 2
- Game 3 — Oklahoma 9, Mississippi 1
- Game 4 — Wichita State 2, Tulsa 1
- Game 5 — Mississippi 4, Wichita State 0
- Game 6 — Oklahoma (49-7) vs. Mississippi (41-21), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
- Game 7 — If necessary (ESPN3)