The situation was precarious. The pitcher, apparently, was prepared.
Saugus High graduate and University of Oklahoma freshman Mariah Lopez entered the circle in the second inning of Tuesday night’s game two of the Women’s College World Series championship series with the bases loaded and two outs.
After hitting a batter to force in a run, Lopez gathered herself and induced a foul out to end the frame.
It could have been a lot worse. Lopez hardly could’ve been better in the biggest game of her softball career. She pitched two innings of one-run ball after that to help the Sooners to a 5-4 win over Florida at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, claiming their second straight national title by taking the best-of-three series, 2-0.
Lopez was the winning pitcher Tuesday. She didn’t pitch in Monday night’s marathon, a contest that lasted 17 innings, with Oklahoma prevailing 7-5.
Sooner pitchers Paige Lowary and Paige Parker combined to throw 247 pitches, though, setting the stage for Lopez’s opportunity.
Parker started Tuesday but allowed two runs and exited with the bases loaded in the second.
Lopez didn’t back down, pitching inside to clean-up hitter Kayli Kvistad, who appeared to lean into the pitch.
Florida’s Janell Wheaton then lifted a fly out down the left field line to end the inning with the Gators leading 3-1.
Oklahoma stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the second, and, over the next two frames, Lopez’s only blemish came on a solo homer in the third.
She struck out two and walked none.
Lopez, who entered the night with a 1.84 ERA at OU, was The Signal’s co-All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year last season at Saugus.