2022 WCWS Starts With A Bang
Game One: Texas 7, UCLA 2
Texas showed the nation why it does not matter how you start, but it is how you finish that ultimately matters. The Longhorns continued their incredible postseason run, as they took down No. 5 UCLA in the first game of the 2022 Women's College World Series. Freshman Mia Scott was spectacular, going 4-for-4 at the plate and coming a home run short of the cycle.
Reminiscent of their early-season matchup in Florida, both teams were locked into a pitchers' duel, as Hailey Dolcini and Megan Faraimo traded zeroes for the first couple of innings.
Texas threatened early and eventually broke through with a four-run third inning that was headlined by a Mary Iakopo two-run blast. UCLA was forced to go to the bullpen, as Faraimo had her shortest outing of the season at 2.1 innings of work. For context, in the early-season matchup, the Longhorns only had four hits off Faraimo in seven innings, but were able to tag her for six hits in their WCWS showdown.
Her counterpart, Dolcini, had another solid outing, as she went the distance while only allowing two runs to score on a Delanie Wisz home run. Texas has relied on terrific pitching and defense this postseason, and Janae Jefferson continued to shine at second base. Bella Dayton also joined the home-run party, hitting one to right field for the Longhorns.
Texas will begin its journey in the winners' bracket by taking on Oklahoma on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET in what will be the first-ever WCWS game televised on ABC. UCLA, on the other hand, will try to keep its season alive by taking on Northwestern on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Game Two: Oklahoma 13, Northwestern 2 (5 innings)
Oklahoma has been the top-ranked team in the country all season long, and the Sooners showed why when they emphatically took down No. 9 Northwestern. Last year, James Madison stunned Oklahoma in the opening game for both teams, but there was no upset on Thursday, as the Sooners put on an offensive clinic and run-ruled the Wildcats. The run-rule victory was their fourth of the postseason and 39th overall this year.
The contest started with both teams having a runner reach first base, but Hope Trautwein and Danielle Williams settled in and ended any potential threats. Northwestern broke through first, as Rachel Lewis hit her 23rd home run of the season to take the lead in the third inning. Oklahoma responded dominantly, however, putting up 13 runs in the third and fourth innings.
The high-scoring affair featured two grand slams hit by Tiare Jennings and Jana Johns. Williams was chased after the third inning, as she gave up six runs, while the rest of Northwestern’s pitching staff struggled to find any success in keeping the Sooners off the board. To highlight the run-rule contest, Oklahoma saw the return of freshman phenom Jordy Bahl, who was out with an arm injury and had not pitched since May 6.
Game Three: Florida 7, Oregon State 1
The Florida Gators continued to stay on fire as the No. 14 seed, as they powered past a young Oregon State squad that was shorthanded, with two-way star Mariah Mazon being unavailable for the contest.
Oregon State took an early 1-0 lead and loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning. Florida's Natalie Lugo escaped the jam, however, and had another terrific relief appearance out of the bullpen, as she only allowed one runner to reach base in her 6.0 innings of work.
The Gator offense took advantage of four errors from the Beaver defense to plate seven runs. Avery Goelz, who has been hot in the tournament, came through big again with three RBIs from the nine spot in the order.
The Gators will now play in the winners' bracket and take on Oklahoma State on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Beavers, however, will face Pac-12 foe Arizona in an elimination game on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Game Four: Oklahoma State 4, Arizona 2
On a day when offenses had their way, the final matchup of opening day was a thriller featuring a terrific pitching performance from Oklahoma State’s Kelly Maxwell. The southpaw spun a gem with 14 strikeouts, and only allowed a two-run home run to Arizona's Sharlize Palacios.
The Cowgirls got on the board first on a Sydney Pennington single, but she was thrown out trying to extend it to a double. This led to an Arizona rally that gave the Wildcats the lead in the fifth inning on Palacios' two-run blast.
Arizona starter Hanah Bowen was able to get out of a few jams, and with all the momentum on their side, it looked like the Wildcats were going to pull off another upset. In the sixth inning, however, the Cowgirls rallied, and on a 2-2 offering from Bowen, Oklahoma State second baseman Karli Petty deposited a ball over the fence in center to give her team a lead it would not relinquish.