OKLAHOMA CITY– No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 UCLA will face off for the 2019 National Championship after taking different routes to reach the Championship Series on Semifinal Sunday at the Women’s College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium/OGE Energy Field.
The Bruins (54-6), behind a masterful performance by Rachel Garcia, knocked off No. 3 Washington, 3-0, innings. The NFCA All-American and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year tossed a complete-game shutout and also hit the walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th, sending UCLA to its first Championship Series since 2010.
The Sooners (57-4) bounced back from a 1-0 eight-inning defeat to Alabama with a 7-3 victory over the Crimson Tide (60-10) in the winner-take-all semifinal. It marks OU’s fifth appearance in the championship series, including the third in the last four years, and the sixth time the Sooners will be playing for the title.
Game 11 – No. 2 UCLA 3, No. 3 Washington 0 (10) Box Score
Rachel Garcia launched a two-out, three-run walk-off home run in the 10thinning to send UCLA to the Championship Series. Garcia added complete-game shutout, striking out 16 in 10 innings work. She scattered eight hits, walked four and tossed 179 pitches for her seventh shutout and 27thvictory of the season.
Garcia’s counterparts, Gabbie Plain and Taran Avelo of Washington, were equally as impressive. Plain started and reentered just before Garcia’s long ball. She totaled 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with seven punchouts and three walks. Alvelo (26-5), whose tremendous career came to an end today, suffered the loss in three-plus innings of work. She allowed a run on three hits with four strikeouts and a free pass.
Both teams had chances to get on the board over the course of the first nine innings, leaving a combined 20 runners on base and going 1-19 with runners in scoring position.
Sami Reynolds went 3-for-5 at the plate for the Huskies (52-9) and Sis Bates was 2-for-5. Bubba Nickles was the only Bruin to record multiple hits with a 2-for-5 outing at the dish.
No. 8 Alabama 1, No. 1 Oklahoma 0 (8) Box Score
Montana Fouts tossed a complete-game shutout and pinch hitter Caroline Hardy came up with the walk-off single in the bottom of the eight to lift Alabama over Oklahoma and force a winner-take-all semifinal.
Hardy, a senior, stepped up to the plate with two outs and pinch runner Kloyee Anderson on second. She singled back up the middle, sending Anderson home with the winning run.
Fouts struck out five, walked four and allowed just four hits in eight innings as she improved to 21-6. Giselle “G” Juarez (28-2) also put forth a solid outing as she surrendered just the run on four hits with eight punchouts and no walks in 7.2 innings.
No. 1 Oklahoma 7, No. 8 Alabama 3 Box Score
Oklahoma used three late home runs to defeat Alabama, 7-3, in the winner-take-all semifinal and advance to tomorrow’s championship series.
A two-out, 300-plus foot bomb to centerfield by Jocelyn Alo in the fifth inning pushed Alabama’s advantage to 4-1. That long ball started a stretch of three home runs in seven Sooner at bats, which helped OU maintain the lead in the latter innings.
Before two more OU homers, Skyler Wallace answered Alo’s towering blast with a two-run shot of her own in the top of the sixth to once again make it a one-run deficit for the Crimson Tide. Wallace finished the night 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
However, Nicole Mendez matched Wallace and pushed the Sooners’ advantage back to three runs, crushing a two-run round tripper into the leftfield bleachers in the bottom of the sixth. Grace Lyons added another run with a solo homer off relief pitcher Sarah Cornell.
Mariah Lopez picked up the win in relief for OU. She entered in the second inning and went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Juarez started and went 1.2 innings, surrendering a run on one hit with two punchouts.
Krystal Goodman started for the Crimson Tide and allowed six runs on just four hits (two home runs) in five-plus innings of work. She struck out five and walked three.
The Sooners struck quickly with two runs in the bottom of the first. Caleigh Clifton roped an RBI double and then scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Sooner lead.
Reagan Dykes, who scored two of Alabama’s three runs, put the Crimson Tide on the board with a solo homer in the second to cut OU lead to 2-1.