OKLAHOMA CITY — LSU’s run in the Women’s College World Series ended early Monday morning in a 7-3 loss to Oklahoma in the semifinals at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
It marked the second consecutive season that the Tigers (52-18) went 2-2 in the WCWS and fell two wins short of the championship series.
LSU advanced to the semis with a 4-1 win against Georgia on Sunday afternoon, but its pitching and defense cracked under the Sooners’ relentless slap-and-bunt attack.
The 10th-seeded Tigers committed four errors and none of their three standout pitchers — Allie Walljasper, Sydney Smith and Carley Hoover — could slow down third-seeded OU, which had 10 hits as it set a school record with its 30th consecutive victory.
The Sooners (55-7) will face Southeastern Conference tournament champion Auburn, which advanced Sunday night with an 8-7, eight-inning win against Florida State, in the best-of-three championship series beginning Monday night.
LSU committed four errors, and OU built an early 3-0 lead against Walljasper before Smith (13-4) relieved. But Sahvanna Jaquish’s three-run homer tied the score in the bottom of the third.
The Sooners came right back in the fourth with a walk, a bunt single, sacrifice and a two-run single by Erin Miller. That brought on Hoover, who had won both games as the Tigers bounced back from an opening loss to Michigan on Friday to win an elimination game against Alabama on Saturday as well as the one against Georgia, which finished 46-20.
A walk, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch by Hoover sent home Miller and increased OU’s lead to 6-3. Shay Knighten’s home run off Hoover in the sixth made it 7-3.
Paige Parker, the only pitcher used by the Sooners in three WCWS games, improved to 36-3.
In the first game, Bianka Bell gave Hoover all the runs she needed. She hit two home runs and Hoover (22-8) pitched a three-hitter.
After doing postgame interviews, the Tigers returned to their hotel so the players could rest before returning for the game against Oklahoma, which was scheduled to begin four hours after the first game ended.
But the Florida State-Auburn game went into extra innings and delayed the LSU-Oklahoma start by 70 minutes until 9:40 p.m.
The LSU coaching staff had prepared a game plan for the Sooners on Saturday night in case LSU advanced.
“It wasn’t that we were looking past Georgia,” Tigers coach Beth Torina said. “But we tried to do them both last night just so we could be prepared on a quick turnaround.”
Bell, a senior infielder who is LSU’s career home-run leader, hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo homer in the fifth, giving her a team-high 14 homers this season and 58 for her career.
“She’s pretty good,” Torina said.
Hoover walked one, struck out five and retired the last 11 batters.
“It is definitely one of her best performances,” Torina said. “And I’ve seem some great ones.”
LSU grabbed the lead in the first inning when Bailey Landry reached on a one-out fielding error by first baseman Tina Iosefa and Bell followed with a drive into the bleachers in right-center field.
Georgia cut the lead in half in the fourth when Alyssa DiCarlo led off with a single, Alex Hugo’s fly ball dropped in for a double and Maeve McGuire hit an RBI-grounder. Hoover handled Katie Browne’s two-out grounder to strand McGuire at third.
The Bulldogs didn’t get another base-runner.
The Tigers missed a series of opportunities to add to their run total, leaving two runners in scoring position in the second and one in both the third and fourth, but Hoover made sure it didn’t matter.
Bell, who struck out in her second at bat against Georgia ace Chelsea Wilkinson (28-9), drove a rise ball to straightaway center field in the fifth to increase LSU’s lead to 3-1.
“I was looking more down in the zone because she struck me out the at bat before on three inside, low pitches,” Bell said. “I was just thinking get my barrel head up to the ball and just see it down and just make contact.”
She became the first LSU player and the 13th in NCAA history to hit two home runs in a WCWS game.
“I think Bianka is just straight-up a really, really good player, a great hitter,” Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer said. “She’s brought a lot of heart to her team and she did an outstanding job today.”
The Tigers completed the scoring in the sixth when Quinn singled home pinch runner Akiya Thymes, who entered the game after Jenna Kreamer began the inning with a pinch-hit single.
But LSU couldn’t keep up with Oklahoma, the highest remaining seed in the NCAA tournament after No. 1 Florida lost to Georgia in the Gainesville super regional and No. 2 Michigan lost to the Sooners on Saturday night and was eliminated by Florida State in Sunday’s first game.