Oklahoma’s softball team needed just one win over Alabama in the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series on Sunday, but they needed two games to get it to the WCWS Finals.
The Sooners beat Alabama 7-3 in the “if necessary” semifinal game against the Crimson Tide, after losing to Alabama 1-0 in eight innings in the first game.
The win clinches OU’s third trip to the finals in the last four years, their fifth in the last eight years, and sixth in school history.
Oklahoma’s power offense came to life in the second game.
After not hitting a home run in their first three WCWS games, the Sooners hit three against Alabama.
Jocelyn Alo hit the first one, a two-run monstrous shot over the slow pitch fence in center field to give OU a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Alabama’s Skylar Wallace answered with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth to cut the Sooner lead to 4-3.
Oklahoma got the runs back in the bottom of the sixth, with Nicole Mendes hitting a two-run home run to left field to make it 6-3.
Grace Lyons added a solo home run later in the inning to make it 7-3.
Mariah Lopez got the pitching win for the Sooners, relieving Giselle Juarez in the second inning and pitching four and a third innings, giving up four hits and striking out three.
Oklahoma took the early lead with two runs in the first inning.
Caleigh Clifton doubled to the gap in right center field to score Sydney Romero from first, then Clifton scored on a wild pitch to give the Sooners a 2-0 lead.
Reagan Dykes of Alabama cut the OU lead in half with a solo home run in the second inning off Juarez, which cut the lead to 2-1, and Lopez then came on in relief of Juarez.
The first game was a pitchers’ duel between Juarez and Alabama’s Montana Fouts.
The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Caroline Hardy singled in Kloyee Anderson with the lone and winning run of the game.
Oklahoma improves to 57-4, and will face second seed UCLA in the best-of-three finals starting Monday night at 6:30 pm.
Game 2 is set for Tuesday night at 7:30, with the if necessary Game 3 Wednesday night at 7:30.
UCLA is going for their 12th NCAA championship and OU for their fifth.
This is the first time the top two seeds have met in the finals since they started the best-of-three format in 2005.