OKLAHOMA CITY — The box score from LSU’s 7-3 loss to Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series semifinals Sunday night reveals just how hard the Tigers made things on themselves.
The Tigers committed four errors, threw three wild pitches, allowed one passed ball, hit one batter and walked six others.
The Sooners put pressure on LSU with their relentless slapping and bunting before Shay Knighten provided a powerful exclamation point with her sixth-inning solo home run.
“I think we kind of misstepped on little things a little bit, and they capitalized on our mistakes,” said designated player Sahvanna Jaquish, who negated several of those mistakes with her three-run, game-tying home run in the third inning.
But the Tigers, who finished the season 52-18, barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief before the Sooners answered with three runs in their next at-bat.
“Our team does a great job of answering back,” OU pitcher Paige Parker said. “And that gave me a lot of confidence knowing that they were going to score a lot of runs.”
Parker (36-3) settled down after the third inning and threw her third complete game of the WCWS.
The sophomore left-hander has thrown every one of the 371 pitches thrown by the Sooners in the WCWS.
“Paige was just a warrior tonight,” OU coach Patty Gasso said.
The Sooners will continue to lean on Parker in the best-of-three championship series against Auburn, which began Monday night. She single-handedly outdueled the Tigers’ trio of standout pitchers — Allie Walljasper, Carley Hoover and Sydney Smith.
Walljasper started and gave up the first three runs before Smith came on to finish the third inning, Smith (13-4) allowed a tiebreaking two-run single in the fourth before Hoover came on to finish.
None of the pitchers was at her best, but three of the four errors came in the two-run third that helped set the tone.
“Our defense has plagued us all season long,” coach Beth Torina said. “(The Sooners) are very athletic, very fast. I think they exposed something that’s been a deficit for us all year.”
LSU was good at overcoming deficits, five times winning games that it trailed entering the seventh inning, and the Tigers were playing OU because they had recovered from an opening loss to Michigan to win elimination games against Alabama and Georgia, the latter ending about five hours before the game against the Sooners began.
Jaquish erased one deficit, but the Tigers never cut into the deficit after the Sooners rebuilt it.
Sandra Simmons and Bailey Landry singled with one out in the seventh and the Tigers need one more base runner to bring the tying run to the plate, but Bianka Bell hit a grounder to second that turned into a season-ending double play.
“I never thought we were out of it,” Torina said. “I thought they did fight. I really did. I just think that maybe we ran out of gas being as late as it was. It was a long, long grueling day.”
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.