It took a turbulent, winding road, but Oklahoma has won its fifth Women's College World Series in program history.
The top-seeded Sooners captured the national championship with a 5-1 win over No. 10 seed Florida State in Game 3 of the national finals, overcoming a Game 1 loss with back-to-back complete games from ace Giselle Juarez. Oklahoma has now won three championships in the last six seasons.
The scoring got started quickly with a solo home run from Jocelyn Alo, the USA Softball Player of the Year, in the bottom of the first inning:
Another solo homer from center fielder Jayda Coleman followed in the second inning, but Coleman would break the game open in the third inning. With two on, two outs and a full count, Coleman hit a two-run double to give the Sooners a 5-1 lead.
With Juarez on the mound, that was all Oklahoma needed.
Giselle Juarez wins WCWS MVP
Pitching for the second straight day, Juarez once again delivered a complete-game win, posting a line of seven innings, two hits, one earned run, two walks and seven strikeouts.
Juarez had pitched seven innings in the series-tying Game 2 as well, racking up 13 strikeouts and only three earned runs in 14 innings over the span of 24 hours. That all added up to series MVP honors:
Oklahoma won every WCWS game with its back against the wall
While a top seed winning a national championship sounds fairly straightforward, the Sooners' path featured multiple losses and the constant threat of elimination.
Oklahoma opened its WCWS run against unseeded James Madison, a program making its first appearance in the tournament. The Sooners were shocked in extra innings, losing 4-3 and heading straight to the elimination bracket.
What followed were single-elimination games against Georgia and UCLA, and then a chance for revenge against James Madison. Needing two wins to advance to the national finals, Oklahoma beat JMU in 6-3 and 7-1 wins, the former coming thanks to a seventh-inning tiebreaking rally.
In the finals, Oklahoma lost 8-4 to Florida State in Game 1, once again putting them in a win-or-go-home position.
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