Oklahoma, Texas Advance To WCWS Championship Series
Semifinal Monday saw it all, from upsets, to comebacks, to slugfests and everything in between. Ultimately, Oklahoma and Texas advanced to the 2022 WCWS national championship series, as the Sooners and Longhorns are now set to renew the Red River Rivalry once again, but with an NCAA title on the line this time.
Game Eleven: UCLA 7, Oklahoma 3
The home run ball defined the opening semifinal contest, as UCLA was able to take down Oklahoma and hand the Sooners only their third loss of the season. Both teams combined for 10 runs, all of which came across via the long ball. The victory forced an if-necessary contest, with a spot in the championship series on the line.
The Bruins hit three home runs, while Oklahoma was able to send two out of the yard. UCLA threw the first punch when Delanie Wisz hit a two-run homer off Oklahoma starter Nicole May, who picked up her first loss of the season. Jayda Coleman was able to get a run back for Oklahoma when she hit a solo shot to center field.
The Bruins tacked on three runs in the third inning after Maya Brady hit her first home run of the day, which ultimately chased May from the circle. The Sooners got two runs back on a Grace Lyons homer to make it a two-run ball game. Jordy Bahl entered the game in relief and kept the UCLA offense quiet, giving her team a chance to come back, until Brady homered again in the seventh inning.
Megan Faraimo started the contest for UCLA and limited Oklahoma to just four hits and three runs. Holly Azevedo, who was spectacular against Florida, struck out three batters and tossed three innings without allowing a hit.
Game Twelve: Oklahoma 15, UCLA 0
After dropping the first game, Oklahoma was not going to be denied another chance to get to a national championship series. Putting on an offensive clinic, the Sooners showed why they are the top-ranked squad in the nation. Azevedo got the start for the Bruins after having success earlier in the day, but that did not last long, when Tiare Jennings hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
Oklahoma's offense continued to apply pressure in the second inning, which chased Azevedo from the circle. UCLA brought Faraimo in to stop the rally, but Jocelyn Alo had something else in mind as she crushed a ball down the left-field line. A miscue by UCLA plated another run to extend the lead in the fourth inning. The offense did not stop there, as the Sooners scored eight runs in the fifth inning alone, highlighted by an Alo grand slam. Alo tied the World Series record with seven RBIs in one game.
In the circle, Hope Trautwein had another dominant outing. The graduate transfer racked up six strikeouts and only allowed two hits in the five-inning affair.
Janae Jefferson Felt Right At Home With WPF's Texas Smoke
Former University of Texas star Janae Jefferson had a breakout WPF season with the Texas Smoke.
Game Thirteen: Texas 5, Oklahoma State 0
The third game of the day saw two conference opponents trying to make their first-ever WCWS championship series appearance. Texas was able to take down No. 7 Oklahoma State behind a complete-game performance from Estelle Czech.
In just her second postseason start, Czech was fantastic for the Longhorns, as she tossed a complete-game shutout while only allowing four hits. The Cowgirls were on a 10-game winning streak and had not lost in a month. Texas struck first when Courtney Day blasted a home run to left field to give Texas a three-run lead. After that, Czech and Oklahoma State starter Morgan Day traded a couple of scoreless innings before the Longhorns added two insurance runs in the sixth.
Oklahoma State put runners on base in the final two innings, but Czech and the Texas defense shut the door on any potential rally.
Game Fourteen: Texas 6, Oklahoma State 5
The final contest of the day was an instant classic that saw Texas make history by becoming the only unseeded team to reach the WCWS championship series—and also its first in program history.
It was a slow start for Texas, as the Cowgirls came out of the gates quickly by scoring five runs in the first three innings. Meanwhile, with Kelly Maxwell dealing in the circle, and all the momentum on the Cowgirls' side, time was starting to run out for Texas.
But the Longhorns began a remarkable comeback in the fourth inning. It all got started when Day hit her second three-run home run of the day. That seemed to give Hailey Dolcini all the confidence she needed to finish the contest. Dolcini kept the Cowgirls quiet the rest of the way, allowing her squad to complete the comeback. After a walk and a single, Bella Dayton delivered a single to right field, but the ball was misplayed by the Cowgirls, which allowed Dayton to sprint around the bases and score the go-ahead run.
That single play seemed to take the energy away from the Cowgirls, as they were unable to get a rally going. Texas turned another double play and Dolcini retired the final nine batters, ultimately ending Oklahoma State’s season.