On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (50-2) run-ruled the No. 16 seeded Washington Huskies (45-14) by a score of a 9-1 to claim the Norman Super Regional title and officially book their trip to the 2021 Women’s College World Series.
Senior righty Shannon Saile got the starting nod in the circle for the Sooners on Saturday, and in 5.0 innings, the veteran pitcher needed just 83 pitches to strike out five of the 20 batters she faced.
In the top of the first inning, Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tiare Jennings got things started with a double, then National Player of the Year finalist Jocelyn Alo singled up the middle to put runners on the corners with no outs. After freshman Jayda Coleman was called out for stepping outside the batter’s box on her swing, a wild pitch allowed Jennings to reach home and give Oklahoma a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the frame.
With one out in the top of the second, senior Jana Johns reached third after a single up the middle, a steal and a sacrifice from sophomore Rylie Boone. Then Jennings, Alo and Coleman stepped up to the plate and were each walked back-to-back-to-back to tack another run on the board for OU. Facing a bases loaded scenario, Washington’s senior ace Gabbie Plain would eventually rise up to leave them all stranded retire the side.
Following a UW pitching change in the top of the third, the Huskies managed to send the first two Sooners back to the dugout before senior Nicole Mendes was walked. After a wild pitch sent Mendy to second, Johns stepped up to the plate and cranked a 3-2 pitch out of Marita Hynes Park for a two-run homer. Oklahoma’s lead would swell to 4-0 going into the bottom of the frame.
It the bottom of the third, Huskies junior Baylee Klingler was able to drive in an RBI on a single to left, giving Washington its one and only run of the day.
Like a broken record, Jennings led the Sooners off in the top of the fourth and reached base, this time on a four-pitch walk. Then UW decided to bring Plain back to the circle, and in another duel between National Player of the Year finalists, Alo would once again go yard for a two-run dinger. If that wasn’t enough, in the very next at-bat, sophomore Kinzie Hansen clearly wanted a piece of the launch party, so she recorded a solo mash of her own to put the top-seeded team in the tournament in front, 7-1.
Veteran Mendes led things off with a double in the top of the fifth, then senior captain Lynnsie Elam drilled one to center to drive in another run. After that, Alo would log yet another RBI with a single to left, giving her three on the day and a total of four on the weekend.
Next, OU is on its way to a fifth consecutive Women’s College World Series and the program’s 14th appearance overall. The 2021 WCWS is set to begin at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on Thursday, June 3.
See you in OKC! Boomer!
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