Oklahoma and Texas for a national title. What could be better?
The archrival Sooners and Longhorns will face off in the Women’s College World Series championship finals in a Best of Three series for NCAA gold.
Monday saw Oklahoma lose for just the third time this season, dropping their first semifinal game to UCLA. Thanks to the double-elimination-style bracket, the two teams faced off a second time and it became very clear that the Sooners were on a mission to avenge their loss.
Sooner bats boomed to a15-0 victory for OU, as the Sooners roughed up the entire UCLA pitching staff. The Sooners put up three runs in the bottom of the first inning and never stopped scoring. The game ultimately went into the books as Oklahoma’s 40th run-rule win of the year.
Oklahoma hitting star Jocelyn Alo knocked a pair of longballs in the game, including a grand slam, and freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl made her second appearance of the postseason in the circle.
The Sooners’ win in the second semifinal game meant the WCWS championship series would officially be an all-Big 12 affair. In the semifinal on the other side of the bracket, Oklahoma State and Texas were set to face off.
Oklahoma State entered the day 4-0 against Texas this season, including sweeping the regular-season series and a win in the Big 12 tournament.
The Longhorns sent pitcher Estelle Czech to the circle, while Oklahoma State countered with 5th-year senior Morgan Day. All of the offense in the affair belonged to the Longhorns, including a 3-run home run off the bat of Courtney Day in the second inning and then small-ball produced a pair of runs in the sixth inning.
Day was one of five Longhorn hitters to record a hit in the game, and she led the way with three RBIs. Czech went the entire way in the circle, allowing just four Cowgirl hits and notching four strikeouts.
While the Texas’ victory meant another winner-take-all semifinal game, it also meant that Oklahoma State ace Kelly Maxwell was the obstacle that the Longhorns would have to get past if they were to advance to play for a title. Maxwell had had Texas’ number all season and the Texas offense struggled against her in each matchup.
After Oklahoma State jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the game, things appeared to be all but over for the Texas’ season. Until it wasn’t.
It was again Czech in the circle for Texas, though she gave way to 5th-year senior ace Hailey Dolcini after giving up three runs. Two Oklahoma State home runs marked the early scoring, off the bats of Kiley Naomi and Karli Petty.
In the fourth inning, another 3-run home run off the bat of Courtney Day – remember that name? – cut the OK State lead to 5-3.
And then in the fifth inning, things went south for Oklahoma State. The usually-defensively-sound Cowgirls made multiple errors on one play, allowing two runs to score on a Bella Dayton soft liner. After those runs scored in front of her, another error allowed Dayton to come all the way around and score herself, giving the Longhorns their first lead of the deciding game.
Oklahoma St. could not score again, and the final score was Texas 6, Oklahoma State 5. The Longhorns beat the Cowgirls twice in one day, their first two wins of the year in the budding rivalry for the team from the Forty Acres.
After a day off on Tuesday, Texas and Oklahoma will square off in Game 1 of the national championship series on Wednesday evening in Oklahoma City. It’s the first time in history that Texas has played in the WCWS championship series, while Oklahoma will vie for back-to-back titles.