OU softball 'unbreakable, unstoppable, unshakeable' in Game 1 rout of Texas of WCWS finals
The chorus played loud and strong.
After OU second baseman Tiare Jennings’ three-run home run in the third inning took Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series best-of-three championship series from blowout territory to beyond, Carrie Underwood’s “I am a Champion” played at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
“I am invincible, unbreakable, unstoppable, unshakeable,” Underwood sang.
Hard to think any of those don’t apply to this Sooners team.
“I wouldn’t really say it surprises us,” Sooners slugger Jocelyn Alo said of the eye-popping numbers her team continues to post. “But it’s definitely cool to see what it is that we can do as the stakes get higher and as the stages get bigger.”
The Sooners didn’t clinch the program’s sixth national championship with the victory, but it would take an incredible collapse for that not to happen at this point.
OU hasn’t lost back-to-back games since February 2020, and it would take two consecutive wins by the Longhorns to keep the Sooners from taking the title for the second consecutive season and fourth time in the last six championships.
Game 2 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2).
After Jayda Coleman led off with a double and Alo chased it with a home run in Saturday’s 7-2 OU win over the Longhorns in the second round, Texas coach Mike White was asked why he didn’t walk Alo.
“That’s not the way I play softball,” White said then, going on to call the Sooners’ lineup “Murderer’s Row,” recalling the famous 1927 New York Yankees.
Wednesday, the Sooners further illustrated the difficulty of navigating their order for opponents.
Coleman, once again, led off with a double off Texas starter Hailey Dolcini.
Then Alo, once again, blasted a home run over the left-field fence and OU’s offense was off and running.
After the blowout, White was asked if he’s reconsidered his position at all.
“We’ve got to score runs to beat them,” White said. “By walking them, you’re just putting one more runner on. They’re going to put up some numbers — four or five. We’ve got to find a way to score seven. That’s the way it is, you know.”
Sooners set WCWS records
The home run was the first of six for the Sooners in the win, a WCWS record.
Both Alo, who added a solo shot in the fifth, and Jennings hit two each.
Taylon Snow added a three-run blast in the first and Jana Johns a solo shot in the third.
The Sooners scored in every inning, tying a WCWS record for runs in a game — thanks in part to the elimination of the run-rule for the championship series.
OU also broke their own WCWS record for runs in the event, upping their number to 54 in five games.
In eight games last season, the Sooners scored a WCWS-record 49 runs.
Alo also set the single-season WCWS record for home runs (five) and RBIs (13).
Then Jennings tied Alo's home run record with her fifth-inning shot on the heels of Alo's, then broke Alo's RBI record, running her total to 14 on her sixth-inning RBI double.
Alo also broke the record for runs scored in a WCWS game with five as she raised her season batting average to an eye-popping .527.
Alo is hitting .733 (11-for-15) in the WCWS, and .690 (20-for-29) in the postseason. She's reached base in each of her last nine plate appearances.
Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for OU on Wednesday, as starting pitcher Hope Trautwein surrendered a double before walking three consecutive hitters to give the Longhorns an early lead.
But the Sooners’ bats gave Trautwein breathing room, and the super senior — who grew up rooting for the Longhorns — settled in.
Trautwein went five innings, allowing just two hits and walking just one more to improve to 22-1.
Nicole May finished off the victory with two shutout innings.
Now, OU is one win away from another title.
“I think the approach just stays the same,” Snow 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 play Sooner softball.”
And Texas will look to push the series to a third game after being out of Wednesday’s game by the time the first inning ended.
“Nothing from today carries over,” Dolcini said. “So you learn from it and try not to make the same mistakes again. Then we just come out and play loose.
“I think we just lost a little bit of that today.”
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WCWS championship series schedule
Best-of-three series between OU and Texas:
Game 1:Oklahoma 16, Texas 1
Game 2: 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2)
*-Game 3: 7:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN)