No. 2 UCLA Crushes No. 1 Oklahoma to Win Game 1 of Women's College World Series

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2019

UCLA's Aaliyah Jordan gestures to her team as she runs in after hitting a home run against Oklahoma in the first inning of the first game of the best-of-three championship series in the NCAA softball Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

For the first time since 2005, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are battling it out in the Women's College World Series, and nobody could have predicted what awaited No. 1 Oklahoma in Game 1 Monday night in Oklahoma City.

The best-of-three series began with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins dominating the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners 16-3 behind 16 hits and four home runs by four different players.

Per the ESPN broadcast, the Bruins' 16 runs tied the most in a Women's College World Series and marked the 14th game this season that UCLA has scored at least 10 runs.

Aaliyah Jordan opened the scoring with a solo shot off Sooners starting pitcher Giselle Juarez with two outs in the top of the first. The Bruins came out hot despite gritting through a 10-inning semifinal game against Washington on Sunday.

NCAA Softball @NCAAsoftball

That one is OUTTA HERE!!! 💥 #WCWS | @UCLASoftball https://t.co/3ixY9xGm91

Rachel Garcia, whose three-run home run in the 10th inning is what landed UCLA in the finals, also started against Oklahoma in Game 1. Shay Knighten took the back-to-back USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year yard to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second.

NCAA Softball @NCAAsoftball

Big. Play. Shay. #WCWS | @OU_Softball https://t.co/I4NNxpyDcB

However, Garcia locked it down from there on out.

Following her two-run home run in the top of the sixth to give UCLA a 10-run lead, Garcia was taken out of the pitching circle having allowed just one run and three hits on 61 pitches. Her shutdown five-inning performance came a day after she tossed 179 pitches and 16 strikeouts against Washington.

Juarez did not fare as well, as Mariah Lopez replaced her to start the fifth inning after she had given up four runs, three earned, on 62 pitches.

The beginning of the end of Juarez and the Sooners came in the top of the third when UCLA capitalized on a comedy of errors by Oklahoma:

UCLA Softball @UCLASoftball

Speed kills, as Washington beats out an infield hit, moves to second on an error and scores on a sacrifice by Godin, which results in another Sooner error. Godin up to second. 2-1 Bruins, T3. #GoBruins

UCLA Softball @UCLASoftball

And Nickles singles to left, and when the ball is booted by the OU left fielder, Godin comes in. Nickles takes second. UCLA has scored twice in the inning and there is still nobody out. 3-1 Bruins, T3. #GoBruins

The Bruins' bats worked Lopez, too, as they scored one more in the top of the fifth off a walk and two singles. More of the same followed Lopez into the sixth, as Brianna Tautalafua crushed a solo shot for her first hit in 26 at-bats. Lopez was chased before the end of the inning, but the Bruins added five more off Shannon Saile.

NCAA Softball @NCAAsoftball

What slump?! Brianna Tautalafua hits this ball a VERY LONG WAY 😱 #WCWS | @UCLASoftball https://t.co/tsSxfpgyJ7

NCAA Softball @NCAAsoftball

It's a 💣 party and @UCLASoftball is hosting! #WCWS https://t.co/4rrJGR8x8e

The Bruins showed no mercy to Nicole Mendes in the top of the seventh, batting around to pad their already demoralizing lead by five more runs.

UCLA's 16 runs are the most the Sooners have allowed since the Bruins beat them 7-1 on Feb. 22. The Bruins are the only team to score four or more runs on Oklahoma this season, according to the ESPN broadcast.

By the time Oklahoma's offense woke up in the bottom of the seventh, it was much too late. That said, perhaps the Sooners can use it as some semblance of momentum heading into a must-win Game 2.

The last team in the Women's College World Series to win Game 1 but lose the series was Oklahoma in 2012 to Alabama. Sooners head coach Patty Gasso and her pitchers must find an answer before Tuesday night in order to have a chance at subjecting UCLA to the same fate.

Additionally, the Sooners' senior class will have to muster the performance of its life to come from behind and earn its third title in four years.

If not, UCLA will glide to its first national title since 2010—adding to an already NCAA-most 11 all-time championships.


What's Next?

Game 2 will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday from USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.