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Oklahoma Dominates Game 1 Of 2023 WCWS Championship Series

oklahoma softball 2023 wcws Photo by Justin Tafoya_NCAA Photos via Getty Images.jpg
(Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The 2023 Women’s College World Series championship series started off with a bang, as No.1 Oklahoma faced off against No. 3 Florida State in Game 1 of the best-of-three series. A couple of lightning delays were not going to stop the 12,142 fans in attendance from viewing The Greatest Show on Dirt, and that certainly wasn’t going to stop Oklahoma from winning 5-0 and adding another victory to its historic season.

Three scoreless innings went by, as Oklahoma’s Jordy Bahl and Florida State’s Mack Leonard traded zeroes. The Sooner bats were working through some early nerves, something they rarely go through. With a 51-game winning streak on the line, head coach Patty Gasso reworked the mindset within the dugout to set the pace for the rest of the contest.

“We started off a little bit nervous,” Gasso said. “We had a little conversation as a group and they decided we needed to be more like us and stop trying. We don’t try hard, we just play. Once they got their feet on the ground they took off and really started hitting the ball hard. I am proud of how we turned that switch really quickly.”

Then the scoreboard came to life. In the fourth inning, Oklahoma broke through with three runs. Haley Lee was hit by a pitch and Kinzie Hansen fired back directly after with a double to send pinch runner Bahl home. Alyssa Brito then sent a shot to right field, scoring Hansen. Alynah Torres followed up by sending a slow roller toward relief pitcher Makenna Reid, which she couldn’t field in time, resulting in Brito scoring.

The Sooners tacked on another run in the fifth inning when Hansen sent a shot to left field, sending in Jayda Coleman.

The sixth inning was jam-packed with excitement when Rylie Boone opened it up with a triple and Tiare Jennings sent in the run after singling to left field, giving her the WCWS record of 29 career RBIs. Lee nearly homered, but Kaley Mudge made an outstanding catch over the left field wall to rob her.

Bahl was electric in the circle, throwing a two-hit, complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts.

“She is a very hot pitcher right now and she is throwing the best she has all season right now,” Gasso said. “I want to take advantage of that without running her too hard where she is going to run out of gas. Against a team like Florida State, she’s just gotta go for it.”

The Seminoles threatened in the fourth inning when Jahni Kerr was safe at first base after an error by Bahl. Michaela Edenfield was then hit by a pitch, but Bahl put those two incidents behind her and came through with a strikeout. Florida State was unable to touch Bahl and could not get near home plate the rest of the night.

Florida State now needs a win to keep its run alive and force an if-necessary game on Friday.

“We got outside of ourselves a little bit today,” Florida State head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We know that this is a tall task and Oklahoma is a great ball club. We need to make sure they don’t get the inches they got today.”

Game 2 of the WCWS championship series will take place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Should the Sooners win, they will be crowned national champions for the third year in a row.

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