Shay Knighten Oklahoma HR

The opener of the best-of-three Women’s College World Series championship series is going to be an awfully tough act to follow. The 10th-seeded Oklahoma Sooners bested the top-seeded Florida Gators 7-5 in the 17th inning of that opening game after more than five hours. That was the longest game in WCWS history and in Florida softball history.

The Gators were twice down to their last strike before the 17th, coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh (on a missed fly ball that almost caused a collision, no less) and a 4-2 deficit in the 12th. And they survived Oklahoma loading the bases in both the 15th and 16th, escaping with no damage each time. They weren’t able to rally in the 17th, though, and that was thanks to a three-run home run from Oklahoma’s Shay Knighten (off USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year Kelly Barnhill, no less):

That’s quite the shot from Knighten. Florida threatened again in the bottom of the 17th, though, loading the bases, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly, and setting up runners at first and second with two out and the winning run at the plate. However, Oklahoma’s Paige Lowary then threw a killer strike three to finally end the game:

That’s an incredible contest, and a heck of a way to open the championship series. It’s going to be hard to follow that up, but we’ll see what these teams can do in Game 2 Tuesday. That one takes place at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

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About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.