OKLAHOMA CITY — The questions were sure to come up during Wednesday’s coaches’ press conference.
After all, sixth-seeded Alabama and No. 3 seed Oklahoma will clash Thursday evening in their sixth all-time Women’s College World Series meeting. The game also represents the eighth time the two teams have met in the last five seasons alone, with all but one of those contests coming in the postseason.
“I think (Oklahoma coach) Patty (Gasso) and me should start a new conference called the Big SEC or something like that,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy joked. “We see each other so much.”
The Crimson Tide beat the Sooners in the three-game WCWS championship series in 2012 and won another WCWS contest against OU two years later. Then last season, Alabama rallied to beat OU in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional when Marisa Runyon blasted a sixth inning grand slam in Game 3.
Before that at-bat, Runyon had been 0-for-8 in the Super Regional.
On Wednesday, while Murphy described his joy in watching Runyon break out of her slump in such dramatic fashion, Gasso smirked, reached her arm around Murphy and patted him on the back.
“I know that it’s gonna be a battle,” Gasso said of Thursday’s game. “This is a team in Alabama that always makes us have to play our best. That’s what you want when you’re here.”
Alabama leads the all-time series with Oklahoma 9-5, although the Sooners beat the Crimson Tide 2-0 in a tournament game in Fullerton, Calif., two months ago.
“They showed us that they were just as good or better this year (than last year),” Murphy said. “We’re not gonna go in overconfident or anything.”