The NCAA softball College World Series got underway yesterday. Oklahoma, a major power in college softball, pummeled Northwestern 13-2. The was stopped in the 5th by the 8-run rule. That’s not actually why I am posting about this game, though.
In the bottom of the 4th, with bases loaded and OU up 8-1, the Northwestern pitcher let a rise ball get away from her. It went up and inside, under the batter’s arm. The batter never flinched—it wasn’t really a threatening pitch. Still, the ump reviewed the replay and came back awarding first base to the batter, forcing in a run and making it 9-1. Why? On replay it was seen that a Velcro strap from the batter’s arm pad was hanging about three inches below her arm—and the ball did clip said strap. The their rule is written, a pitch hitting the uniform to include pads is a hit-by-pitch.
While I root for OU, that hardly seemed fair. Straps should have to be taped.
The next batter hit OU’s second grand slam of the game, making the one run from the HBP sort of moot. Down 13-1 then, Northwestern would have had to score 5 in the top of the fifth to not go down by the 8-run mercy rule. They only got one to make it a 13-2 final. It was also OU’s 39th victory by the run rule this year. No matter who is pitching, the other teams all better beware, these OU women rake.
The CWS is double elimination, so Northwestern gets another shot today—against UCLA—in an elimination game. The winner’s bracket has OU vs Texas Saturday. I’ll be at that one.