ASA Hall of Fame Stadium (Oklahoma City) -After rampaging through their stellar season as the nation's top-ranked softball program for the majority of the season, the Bears got off to an unusual slow start. But, living up to their lofty expectations, LSU's 2-0 lead didn't hold, as the Bears kicked off the WCWS with a 5-3 opening game victory.
The light-hitting Tigers got to Cal ace Jolene Henderson quickly, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd.
"LSU has a really good pitching staff," said Henderson. "In our team, we have a good hitting program. So we came up today and I got behind and I shouldn't do that as a pitcher. But they're such a strong offense, they come up on me. Every inning, they're ready to go, they're ready to swing, they're aggressive, and they want to come out on top just as much as everybody else, but we had a lot of heart. Coming from behind wins are stronger wins for us and they mean a lot more, and we just want to reach our goal."
It wasn't until the 5th that the Bears clawed their way back even and the 6th when they took a 5-2 lead they'd never relinquish.
Sparkplug leadoff hitter Jamia Reid got things started with an infield single, eventually coming around to score on a Frani Echavarria sac fly to draw even at 2-2 in the bottom of the 5th.
After holding the Tigers scoreless in the 6th, the Bears drove LSU ace Rachael Fico from the game, with the nation's ERA leader (.045) replaced by the second half of LSU's stellar pitching tandem, Mack, but Mack could not stem the tide either, giving up a pair of hits and a hit batter along with another earned run as the Bears took a 5-2 lead into the 7th.
Echavarria paced the Bears with 3 RBI along with Reid, with a pair of hits and runs.
"We knew that, even though we were behind, that we still had to come back as a team, use our offense and our defense to make sure that we could come back," said Reid. "I just knew we could do it for Jolene because she was going to be working hard on the mound. Even though those two runs scored, she was going to work even harder so that us hitters could score some runs for her."
The 57-5 Bears will next face 4th seed Oklahoma (51-8), the effective home team in the WCWS, with Norman an easy drive from Oklahoma City. The game will be telecast on ESPN2 at 4 pm pdt.
The Sooners are coming off a 5-1 victory over South Florida in today's early session.
LSU will now move on to face South Florida in the loser's bracket.
Thursday's Session 1 attendance of 8,149 broke the previous WCWS Session 1 record (7,280) set last year.