The 2022 Women's College World Series championship is set.
The No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners will take on the Texas Longhorns in a best-of-three series after the teams advanced with victories in win-or-go home semifinal games Monday. Texas became the first unseeded team to reach the title series.
Here's a look at the action as well as a preview for what's ahead with the championship series set to begin Wednesday.
Oklahoma 15, UCLA 0, 5 Innings
The Bruins had forced an elimination game after defeating the Sooners 7-3 earlier Monday, which was just the third loss of the year for Oklahoma. If one thing has been clear this season, the Sooners do not take kindly to losses.
Oklahoma trounced UCLA, forcing the game to end after just five innings via the NCAA run rule. It was the largest win in WCWS history.
The Sooners have followed each of their losses by ending their next game early, defeating their opponents by a combined score of 39-0.
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Oklahoma's 15-0 win is the largest victory by any team in Women's College World Series history.<br><br>This is Oklahoma's 40th run-rule win this season, twice as many as the next closest team in Division I (Louisiana - 20) per <a href="https://twitter.com/643charts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@643Charts</a>.com <a href="https://t.co/6spJa5IkBx">https://t.co/6spJa5IkBx</a>
Jocelyn Alo continued her legendary career Monday by launching a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, which further extended her all-time NCAA record. She matched a WCWS single-game record with 7 RBI.
Sooners starter Hope Trautwein cruised to the win, allowing just two hits with six strikeouts. Sophomore Tiare Jennings added a three-run home run for Oklahoma in the first.
Texas 6, Oklahoma State 5
Texas forced a second game with a 5-0 win over Oklahoma State to begin Monday night. In the elimination matchup, things were a lot more dramatic.
The Cowgirls jumped out to a 5-0 lead as Kiley Naomi and Karli Petty each hit a two-run homer. But the Longhorns were undeterred, and Courtney Day got them back into the game with a three-run blast in the fourth. It was Day's third straight game with a home run.
The following inning, madness ensued, and Texas took full advantage. With two on, Bella Dayton hit a single to right field that wasn't fielded cleanly, allowing both players to score. Oklahoma State first baseman Hayley Busby attempted to get Dayton out at second, but her throw went into the outfield. Dayton came all the way around to give the Longhorns their first lead.
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UNBELIEVEABLE 🤯🤯🤯<br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WCWS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WCWS</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/TexasSoftball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TexasSoftball</a> <a href="https://t.co/lHNQBbngfl">pic.twitter.com/lHNQBbngfl</a>
Hailey Dolcini, who hit a batter and later gave up a two-out homer after she relieved Texas starter Estelle Czech, didn't allow another hit as she pitched the final five innings.
Oklahoma has been on a mission all season for its second straight WCWS title, and it has dominated its competition. The Sooners have averaged 9.2 runs per game, while no other team in the nation averaged eight.
For Oklahoma, it all begins with Alo. The redshirt senior utility player is a terror at the plate and will continue to rake against whomever she faces on the mound.
And with Alo leading the charge, the Sooners approach every game with supreme confidence.
"They are very prideful, and they truly do believe no one can beat them back-to-back—or twice. That's the way they think," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said after Monday's win over UCLA.
In a best-of-three series, that mindset may give the Sooners an edge. They also have the benefit of championship experience, so it's hard to imagine Oklahoma will go home without another title.
Texas, however, has already defeated the Sooners. In April, the Longhorns took the third game of a three-game set 4-2. They had lost 3-0 and 9-1 in five innings. Oklahomas also defeated Texas 7-2 on Saturday. But the Longhorns are a senior-laden team that will not be daunted by the moment.
Senior second baseman Janae Jefferson is one of the most consistent hitters in all of college softball, and the Texas defense was also paramount to the team's success throughout the tournament, turning timely double plays.
It will not be easy, but if the Longhorns can continue to play with the fire that has carried them through the WCWS, we will be in for an entertaining championship series.