With Game 1 over, Texas moves on as Oklahoma plans to ‘dominate’ WCWS finals

White on 16-1 loss: ‘If we go out and speed the game up like we did today, we’re going to get the same result, probably.’

Brian Davis
Austin American-Statesman
View Comments

OKLAHOMA CITY — From Texas catcher Mary Iakopo’s vantage point, the best part about Wednesday’s 16-1 loss against Oklahoma was that it’s over.

There were six OU home runs and 16 hits spread across three dreadful hours and one minute. On this night, Texas got crimson and creamed. But yes, it was indeed over.

On to Thursday’s Game 2 at the Women’s College World Series championship series.

“Just remember that the worst has already happened,” Iakopo said. “Play carefree and loose. And that’s all we can do.”

The top-ranked Sooners are 58-3 for a reason. “They’re really freaking good,” Iakopo said. But Texas (47-21-1) didn’t get this far by giving up when things got tough. The Horns are a perfect 6-0 in elimination games this postseason, so there’s no reason to panic or change things now.

More:Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo, Tiare Jennings erupt as Sooners grab WCWS series lead over Texas

More:How to watch, listen to Texas softball in the 2022 WCWS title series vs. OU

Oklahoma's Lynnsie Elam his a line drive to third base during Wednesday night's 16-1 win over Texas in Game 1 of the best-of-three Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. The loss forced a do-or-die Game 2 for Texas on Thursday night.

Well, maybe a little change is OK. A different breakfast, perhaps. Maybe a different hairstyle or different socks.

“I know I’m very superstitious,” UT outfielder Bella Dayton said. “So, I kind of change things up a bit after what happened. But other than that, we still go towards our plan. You know, we watch what we’ve done and what we will change in the future.”

Texas right-hander Hailey Dolcini held back tears after allowing five runs in the first inning. Dolcini was one of four Texas pitchers sent to the circle to battle a team that collectively hits .370.

“Nothing from today carries over,” Dolcini said. “So, you learn from it, and you try not to make the same mistakes again. Then you just come out and play loose. I think we lost a little bit of that today.”

More:Playing with ‘house money,’ Texas softball ready for WCWS title clash with No. 1 Oklahoma

Texas must win Thursday to force a decisive Game 3 on Friday. The Horns are likely to start left-hander Estelle Czech. “Looks that way, doesn’t it?” UT coach Mike White said with a grin. Czech and Dolcini combined to shut down Oklahoma State in back-to-back wins in the WCWS semifinals.

While Texas plans a reset, OU plans to reload. There is no run rule in the WCWS championship series. 

“I think the approach just stays the same,” OU’s home-run machine Jocelyn Alo said. “We’re going to come out, and we’re going to dominate. It doesn't matter who’s on that mound. It doesn’t matter what name across their chest that they’re wearing. We’re just going to come out, and we’re going to play Sooner softball.”

And therein lies the real Sooners magic — OU’s bulletproof confidence.

It could be anybody in the other dugout, and OU would have the same aggressive mindset. The Sooners jump on teams early and go for the early knockout blow. “Like Mary said, they’re good,” White said. “There’s a reason they’ve been ranked No. 1 from day one and they still are.”

Texas and Oklahoma players pray together after Wednesday night's OU victory in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Texas actually struck first Wednesday, if anyone can remember back to the top of the first. Dayton smashed a two-out double off OU starter Hope Trautwein, the sensational right-hander from Pflugerville Hendrickson.

Maybe Trautwein was a tad nervous herself because she next walked three straight batters and forced in a run. The Horns were up 1-0 and had to feel good. The mostly pro-OU crowd of 12,234 at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium directed its angst toward the home plate umpire over ball and strike calls.

But in the bottom of the first, Dolcini allowed a leadoff double and grooved a pitch to Alo, who sent a two-run blast over the left field wall.

Dolcini had a chance to escape the inning with two ground balls that could have resulted in two double plays. But both of her throws to second base were off target, one for an error and the other for a fielder’s choice.

Given extra chances, the Sooners got down to the No. 7 hitter Taylon Snow. She sent a three-run homer into the bleachers, and OU had a 5-1 lead.

White went to Sophia Simpson, who faced only two batters before leaving for health reasons. “And it wasn’t a change I really wanted to make,” White said. Logan Hulon pitched two innings, and Shea O’Leary finished the final 3⅓ innings in mop-up relief, a thankless job on this night or any night.

Texas pitcher Shea O'Leary was one of four Longhorns pitchers sent to the circle to battle an Oklahoma team that collectively hits .370. Hailey Dolcini started the 16-1 Game 1 loss.

“They punched first,” OU coach Patty Gasso said, “but we punched back and we punched harder.”

The Sooners have a mind-boggling 116-6 run-scoring advantage in the first innings this season. Think about the psychological power of that statistic. Opponents are already on edge because they’re facing the nation’s No. 1 team. They’re coming onto OU’s home turf. They know they have to play almost perfect.

And then — bang.

“I think it’s got to be tough,” Gasso said. “But I’ll say one thing that we have over any other team is the experience of playing in this game. And that is big. If you have never been here before, it can be a little overwhelming. So, I do think it’s a psychological advantage for us when we come out and we jump early.”

The Sooners poured it on as Alo hit a second home run, and Tiare Jennings hit two blasts. Texas left nine runners stranded, but the Horns couldn’t mount any serious threat after the first inning.

That’s why afterward, the Horns talked about moving forward. Nothing else they could do, really. Can Texas take anything away from what happened in Game 1?

“Yes, if we learn from it,” White said. “If we understand what happened and make the adjustments. If we go out and speed the game up like we did today, we’re going to get the same result, probably.”

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or follow on Twitter via @BDavisAAS.

View Comments