'No one beats the Sooners twice': How Jocelyn Alo lifted OU past UCLA and into WCWS finals

Ryan Aber
Oklahoman
View Comments

Jocelyn Alo insisted she wasn’t calling for a five-inning, run-rule victory.

After Tiare Jennings’ three-run home run in the first inning of Monday’s elimination game against UCLA, the ESPN cameras caught Alo holding up five fingers and repeating a phrase that looked to be calling for OU’s 40th run-rule victory.

Whether Alo was being prophetic or not wound up being immaterial, because Alo and the Sooners pummeled the Bruins, and left no doubt that the game would be called early.

OU set a Women’s College World Series record for largest margin of victory with a 15-0 win over UCLA at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium to send the Sooners to the championship series for the third consecutive WCWS.

And Alo was at the center of it all, setting the tone both emotionally and on the field.

The Bruins beat the Sooners 7-3 earlier in the day, putting OU on the brink of elimination.

Carlson:OU didn't want to play two against UCLA, but Sooners came away with a 'blessing'

OU's Jocelyn Alo (78) watches her home run in the second inning of a 15-0 win against UCLA in the game of a Women's College World Series semifinal Monday afternoon at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

“I went into that game with all the confidence knowing we would walk out of it with the W,” Alo said of the second game. “No one beats us — no one beats the Sooners twice.”

OU coach Patty Gasso said there was no panic in the dugout between games, and Alo was at the heart of setting that confident tone.

“She is constant,” Gasso said. “She is near me, so I hear her. She’s constant. She could be sitting on the bench. She could be sipping on a smoothie or whatever she wants to do in there, and she’s not. Her face is right up against the screen. She is fired up and constantly talking.”

The best-of-three championship series, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, will be an all-Big 12 affair.

OU (57-3) will take on Texas, which twice beat Oklahoma State on Monday.

Going into Monday, those two rivals were the only two teams to beat the Sooners this season.

OU won three of four against each team this season, falling to the Longhorns on the final game of their regular-season series in Austin and dropping the Big 12 championship game to the Cowgirls.

The Sooners beat Texas 7-2 on Saturday to advance to Monday’s semifinal.

More:How big of a role will Jordy Bahl play in WCWS championship series? OU softball ace raring to go

OU's Jocelyn Alo runs the bases after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning of a 15-0 win against UCLA on June 6.

OU has bounced back from losses well in recent years, and did again Monday.

In the Sooners’ three games immediately following a loss, they’ve outscored opponents 39-0 with all three games ending in run-rule fashion.

Alo has been even more dominant than she typically is in those situations, going 7-for-10 with 11 RBIs and three home runs.

Monday was no different.

Alo’s first-inning double set up Jennings’ three-run blast moments later.

Then in the second, Alo hit a three-run shot of her own, a towering shot that hit a food truck far beyond the left-field wall on one bounce.

Alo added a grand slam in the Sooners’ eight-run fifth to finish 4-for-4 with a WCWS record-tying seven RBIs.

“She’s the most confident young lady I’ve ever met in my life, to the point where you are like, ‘OK, don’t say that Jocy,’” Gasso said. “But that’s her. She wears it. Maybe she did do that for that reason, because it’s not to kind of stick it in anybody’s face, it’s more about her excitement. She’s just really raw with excitement and love for the game, and her exuberance just is fun to watch.”

More:'All hands on deck' for OU softball pitching staff, but new WCWS schedule helping Sooners

Alo is now 8-for-12 in this year’s WCWS with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

In 22 career WCWS games, she’s hitting .451 with 16 runs scored, 24 RBIs and 10 home runs.

Saturday, after that 7-2 win over his team, Longhorns coach Mike White compared OU’s lineup to the vaunted 1927 New York Yankees “murderer’s row” bunch.

After Monday’s games, Gasso compared Alo to that lineup’s central figure.

“I think Jocelyn Alo is a big reason why this sport has gone to another level,” Gasso said. “People come here to watch her like she’s Babe Ruth. They pay to see Jocelyn Alo.

“Just to see that and to be around it, it just bleeds all over our team. They all want a little piece of what Jocy has.”

More:Why Jocelyn Alo's journey from Hawaii to OU softball is 'like some unbelievable fiction'

View Comments