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Oklahoma Sooners Softball: OU ousts UCLA in 10-3 win, advances to WCWS semifinals

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In a matchup between the top two seeds in the tournament, this contest lived up to its billing.

Syndication: The Oklahoman BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN via Imagn Content Services, LLC

After a two-hour rain delay, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (52-3) eliminated the No. 2 seeded UCLA Bruins (47-7) from the 2021 Women’s College World Series with a 10-3 victory. With the win, OU advances to the semifinals where a rematch with James Madison awaits.

Freshman pitcher Nicole May got the start in the circle for the Sooners on Saturday night, but in 2.0 innings, the righty allowed three runs on six hits while striking out just one batter in her first WCWS start. Giselle ‘G’ Juarez spelled her in the third and shut down the Bruins the rest of the way to the tune of four Ks to just three hits on 74 total pitches.

In the top of the third inning, UCLA’s Rachel Garcia recorded a three-run home run to strike first in this matchup between the top two seeds. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the frame.

With one out in the bottom of the third, senior Nicole Mendes walked after getting hit by a pitch, then later the recently named USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year Jocelyn Alo tripled to center to cut into the Sooners’ three-run deficit. Next, sophomore Kinzie Hansen singled up the middle for an RBI. OU would eventually leave the bases loaded, but was still able to gain some momentum as it was a 3-2 game going into the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, senior Taylon Snow reached on a fielding error by UCLA. Following her at-bat, Mendes reached on a fielding error that ultimately landed two Sooners in scoring position with one out. Next, Jennings doubled to right to send her two teammates home and give Oklahoma the 4-3 lead.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Mackenzie Donihoo blasted a solo homer to center, extending OU’s lead to 5-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Mendes leads things off with a double down the first base line, then Jennings walked to put two on for the Sooners. Next, an Alo flyout to center allowed Mendes to take third before Jennings stole second for a pair in scoring position. Hansen then sent both of her teammates homes with a two RBI double to center, pushing Oklahoma further out in front to a 7-3 advantage. Finally, following a pitching change, junior Grace Lyons singled up the middle to drive in the eighth run of the game.

Amazingly, that wasn’t the end of the scoring for the Sooners. Donihoo’s big day grew even bigger with this two-run bomb to effectively seal the deal and send the reigning champs back home to Southern California.

Up next, Oklahoma will take on James Madison in the semifinal round on Sunday. In the opening game of the WCWS, James Madison pulled off a monumental 4-3 upset over the Sooners in extra innings. In order to advance to the championship series, OU must win two games against JMU, while the Dukes only need to win once. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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