Sooners Show Out To Force WCWS Championship Series Game 3
Women’s College World Series Championship Series Game 2: Oklahoma 6, Florida State 2
Lauren Chamberlain’s arms stretched out. She wanted everyone in the Oklahoma faithful to see her No. 78 jersey with “Alo” stitched on the back. Jocelyn Alo, the National Player of the Year, will probably break Chamberlain's career home run record next season, but Alo showed she wanted something else that Chamberlain has: a national championship.
The Sooner lineup had been sluggish for five innings against Florida State’s Kathryn Sandercock. After Tiare Jennings reached on an error to open the inning, everyone in the crowd knew that with one swing, Alo could give her team its first lead of the Women’s College World Series championship series.
You didn’t need to see the ball fly out of the park, the eruption inside USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium was enough to let you know. Alo’s two-run blast, which also set the all-time record for team home runs in a single season with 159, put the Sooners up for good.
“It's the difference in the game, without question,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “But offensively we were just not—we were not having a lot of success. And Jocelyn is always the shot in the arm. She's the one in everybody's ear...She is right in the middle of this team and trying to help them get rallied. She's not too big for these guys. She definitely is a great team player.”
Not only did Alo give her team the lead, but she also gave them life. The Sooners added two more runs in the sixth with four straight hits after Alo’s homer, including RBIs from Mackenzie Donihoo and Jayda Coleman.
“I was kind of just keeping the offense locked in the game the whole time,” Alo said. “And I was telling them the adjustments we needed to make and we made them there in the end. it was just a matter of just passing the torch. Just one hitter goes, another hitter goes, another hitter goes. So just kind of keeping that ball rolling.”
In the circle, Giselle “G” Juarez is simply pitching like the ace she was in 2018 and 2019. Similar to her outing against JMU, she responded after a quick punch by the Seminoles. Elizabeth Mason sent out a two-run home run in the first, but Juarez settled in from that point on.
“I did settle in, and I think my hitters came up to me and they were like, 'We've got you, we have your back,'” Juarez said. “And I think for me it was all about keeping them in that game. They had my back...And I think when I go out there every time even if I do give up a hit like I've got to keep them in the game and they're going to do their thing and get them back in the dugout to hit.”
Juarez threw a complete game once again. She didn’t allow another run the rest of the contest. The lefty only yielded four hits and struck out six in her 22nd win of the season. She has now thrown 24.1 innings in Oklahoma City this year, surrendering three earned runs.
And if you needed any additional evidence of Oklahoma’s complete team, the defense showed out on the flipside of the four-run frame. Donihoo made a stellar grab in left field and Grace Lyons made quite the pick on a hard ground ball for an easy flip over to first.
This year’s national champion will be decided on Thursday, starting at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. This is the first time since 2005 when the championship series was expanded that the Women’s College World Series needed all 17 scheduled games.