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Oklahoma Softball: OU tops Alabama in nightcap, advances to WCWS Championship Series

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Oklahoma dropped the opener in extra innings, but the power came on late in the winner-take-all match.

Texas Longhorns At Oklahoma Sooners Softball | Game 3 Gallery

After defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide, 7-3, in a crucial winner-take-all match-up, the Oklahoma Sooners have made it to the championship series of the Women’s College World Series. With Oklahoma and UCLA left in the tournament, this marks the first time in the series format era (since 2005) in which the top two seeds have made it to the finals.

The triumph, of course, didn’t come without trials and tribulations, as OU had suffered a walk-off defeat to the Tide just 45 minutes prior to the start of the nightcap. The Sooners, who boast the nation’s top offense, were shut out by Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts, and OU had been struggling to really get anything going with the bats during their stay in OKC.

Fortunately, OU wasted no time jumping on Alabama pitcher Krystal Goodman at the beginning of the second matchup. After Sydney Romero led off with a five-pitch walk, her wheels brought her all the way home on Caleigh Clifton’s subsequent double to right center. Clifton would eventually make it home herself after a pair of wild pitches to make it 2-0.

Giselle Juarez, who was magnificent in the first game before giving up the lone run in extra innings, got the start in Game 2. Fatigue predictably set in, and Alabama responded with a one-out solo shot from Reagan Dykes in the top of the second. This led to Oklahoma calling upon Mariah Lopez, who would go 4.1 innings and earn the win. In the middle of the contest, hits were hard to come by for both teams, and Oklahoma entered the fifth inning with only one of them.

However, that all changed when Jocelyn Alo came to the plate with two outs and Grace Lyons on first. Oklahoma had been stranding runners all weekend leading up to that point, but Alo would be having none of that.

When informed that the two-run blast hit a car, Alo replied, “Sweet. It felt effortless and I felt like I was pressing kind of in the two at-bats before, but I didn’t know how far it went. But off the bat immediately I was like ‘yeah!’”.

As it turned out, the Sooners weren’t out of the woods just yet, as Bama’s Skylar Wallace sent a ball over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer of her own. Fittingly, Thursday night hero Nicole Mendes provided the retort for the Sooners, sending one over the wall in left for a two-run bomb. Later in the inning, freshman Grace Lyons capped the inning off with a solo shot to give Lopez some insurance.

Entering the fifth inning of Sunday evening’s game, Oklahoma was without a home run in the WCWS, but the team ended the contest with three homers in their final two innings (which occurred in a span of seven at-bats). Oklahoma now has 111 home runs on the season, surpassing Arizona for the Division-1 lead with Lyons’ shot.

Oklahoma’s games against UCLA (which will be televised by ESPN) are scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m. CT, Tuesday at 7:30 and Wednesday at 7:30 (if necessary).