Oklahoma defeats Texas

Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo (78) is greeted at the plate following her home run against Texas during the fifth inning of the first game of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogroki)

When Oklahoma home run queen Jocelyn Alo was hit by a pitch at the bottom of the third inning, loud boos emanated from the crowd at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. The sold-out, quasi-home crowd (which included former Sooner, current Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young) came to watch her hit, not just get on base. Sure, she smashed a two-run homer in her first outing, but fans wanted more.

Then Tiare Jennings came up to bat and crushed a three-run homer to extend the Sooners’ lead over Texas to nine runs. It was her 28th home run of the year.

In the bottom of the fifth, Alo led off with a home run — her second. Jennings followed up with a homer of her own. Back-to-back hits out of the park en route Oklahoma’s all-but-certain back-to-back national championship.

With a 16-1 win over the Cinderella Longhorns on Wednesday night, the Sooners are just seven innings away from their sixth national championship and consecutive second. They tied the WCWS record for single-game runs. Alo and Jennings combined for four homers, eight RBI and eight runs.

While watching Oklahoma reel in the epic conclusion of its historically dominant season, it’s important to remember that there’s no run rule in the Women’s College World Series best-two-of-three finals. So hunker down.

“I think they’re at their best when the lights are bright and the stage is big,” said Sooners head coach Patty Gasso after the game.

The best line up in the country – whose first four batters are first-team All-Americans – put on a hitting clinic, crushing six home runs. It was Oklahoma’s 18th game of the season with four or more homers and a record for most homers in a single WCWS game. Eleven of the Sooners’ 16 runs came courtesy of homers.

Texas seemed reborn in Oklahoma City, recording 10 double plays in the tournament. But the Longhorns looked like their regular season selves Wednesday night, thrashing around on defense. They logged four errors and changed pitchers twice in the first inning, one for each homer the Sooners smacked. With her first home run, which drove two runs home, Alo drove moved up to second all time with 322 RBI (first is Arizona’s Jenny Dalton with 328). Taylon Snow brought in three scores for Oklahoma, lifting OU up 5-1.

RHP Hailey Dolcini (2.35 ERA, 24-12) started inside the circle for Texas. She got the starting job when the Longhorns beat then-undefeated Oklahoma 4-2 earlier this season in Austin. She held the Sooners to two hits, two runs and no walks in that victory, which broke a 40-game win streak that extended to 2021. She was pulled from Wednesday’s contest quickly after Snow’s three-run homer.

In came freshman RHP Sophia Simpson, who hit one batter and walked another before coach Mike White pulled her as well. RHP Logan Hulon mercifully brought an end to the inning in her first outing of the WCWS.

RHP Hope Trautwein (22-1) started for the Sooners. Heading into Wednesday, Trautwein had the second lowest ERA in college softball this year at 0.58. She walked three in the first inning, including one home for an unearned run.

The Longhorns left three runners on base when sophomore JJ Smith flied out to left field on the first pitch, and two more runners were stranded in the top of the third. In total Texas left nine runners behind. Each failed rescue mission would haunt Texas as Oklahoma’s lead became insurmountable.

The second game of the championship series – which is also sold out – starts Thursday at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN2.