Mighty Oklahoma softball and more than 10,000 of its crimson & cream fans will be waiting at Hall of Fame Stadium to send Georgia home in today’s noon elimination game at the Women’s College World Series (TV: ESPN).
The No. 1-ranked Sooners (50-3), with their five All-Americans, face an unseeded team of Bulldogs (34-22) that didn’t manage a first- or second-team all-SEC pick, much less an All-American.
Georgia is coming off a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss to Oklahoma State on Thursday in a game that saw the tying run just 60 feet away and the potential game-winning run on second base as the Bulldogs took their final swings.
The winner of today’s noon game between Georgia and Oklahoma plays No. 2-seed UCLA at 7 p.m. this evening in an elimination game.
UGA is about as big of an underdog as the WCWS has seen in recent years.
RELATED: Georgia loses on controversial calls from third base coaching box
But as has often been said, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight of the Dog.
“We did have fight, we did have grit, and I’m proud of this team for that, and I know we’re going to bounce back on Saturday and get a ‘W,’ " UGA sophomore Sydney Kuma said Thursday, minutes after making the final out in the loss to the Cowgirls.
“It’s just another game, we faced them before,” said Kuma, the only Georgia player to start every game each of the past two seasons and the team leader in hits and RBIs and co-leader in home runs.
“I think it’s going to be a good battle. They are going to bring their best fight and so are we.”
Georgia infielder Sydney Kuma (6) during a game against Oklahoma at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)
Oklahoma fell into the loser’s bracket in a shocking defeat at the hands of unseeded James Madison (4-3) in an eight-inning affair on Thursday.
The Sooners have no plans to lose again, and certainly not to a Georgia team they beat 12-3 (5 innings) in the second game of a doubleheader on April 20 in Athens.
The Bulldogs have some confidence of their own to build off, having won the first game against Oklahoma on national television, 7-6 in 9 innings. The win put a blemish on what was a 33-0 Sooners’ record and served notice this UGA team, while in the midst of its worst regular-season record in 20 years, had great potential.
RELATED: Sooners can’t stop Jaiden Fields, Bulldogs pull upset
Kuma hit home runs for Georgia in both games against Oklahoma, and Jaiden Fields had a breakout performance going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and the game-winning hit in the opener.
Fields looked just as deadly in OKC on Thursday, staring down former ACC Pitcher of the Year and Oklahoma State transfer Carrie Eberle before drilling a rocket back through the circle to keep Georgia’s hopes alive in the seventh inning.
Freshman Ellie Armistead, who drove Fields home with a double, shrugged off playing before a partisan crowd, the Sooners’ campus just 26 miles from Hall of Fame Stadium.
“We were at Florida with all of those fans,” Armistead pointed out, referring to how Georgia shocked the No. 4 seed Gators in the super regionals in Gainesville to get to the WCWS.
“I think we can repeat that here.”
RELATED: Mary Wilson Avant stars in Georgia’s giant upset at Florida
“They can bring as many fans as they want out there,” Kuma said. “We’re going to pull together, and we’re going to fight.”
Georgia graduate pitcher Mary Wilson Avant (5) during a game against Oklahoma at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)
The pressure shifts to Oklahoma, the team that’s supposed to win, the 9-5 favorite to win the tourney at its onset. Gasso has already pointed out Florida State came through the loser’s bracket to win the 2018 WCWS.
“So it can be done,” The Sooners’ coach said, “but it’s going to have to take a completely different approach, attitude, commitment as a team to stay alive as long as you can.”
NextGeorgia softball falls to Oklahoma State in WCWS opener, 3-2