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UCLA Walks Off On Oklahoma, Wins 12th NCAA Title

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(Photo courtesy of Linda Donnelly)

OKLAHOMA CITY – With four solo home runs and a game-winning RBI single, UCLA captured its 12th NCAA title in program history on Tuesday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, as the No. 2 Bruins defeated top-seeded Oklahoma, 5–4.

"I am so proud they enjoyed it. They had fun. They had each other's backs," UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez told reporters on Tuesday. "We knew we were going to throw punches, they would throw punches, we had to punch back."

The Bruins picked up right where they left off against the Sooners just one day earlier. Just four pitches through Oklahoma junior starter Giselle "G" Juarez's night, UCLA found itself in the driver's seat against the Sooners again. Thanks to back-to-back solo shots from junior Bubba Nickles and sophomore Briana Perez to lead off the bottom half of the first inning, the Bruins took an early 2–0 lead.

The Sooners would answer back in the top of the third, however, when senior Sydney Romero blasted a solo home run off of UCLA's redshirt-junior starter and National Player of the Year, Rachel Garcia, to cut the Bruins' advantage to one. But sophomore Aaliyah Jordan's solo shot in the bottom of the frame would once again give UCLA a two-run lead.

In the fourth, Oklahoma senior Falepolima Aviu moved the score to 3–2 with a run-scoring single, which was followed up by an RBI double from Sooner sophomore Lynnsie Elam to tie things up at three.

The Bruins took the lead, once again, in the bottom of the fifth inning, when senior Brianna Tautalafua hit another solo bomb—her second home run of the Women's College World Series—to give UCLA a 4–3 advantage.

Oklahoma senior Shay Knighten delivered a two-out blast in the top of the seventh inning that sent the Oklahoma City crowd into a frenzy, as she tied the score at four runs apiece with her team down to its final out.

The Bruins got it done in the bottom of the seventh inning, though, when sophomore Kinsley Washington delivered a game-winning RBI single to grant UCLA the win and the 2019 national title.

"I really felt prepared, trying to use everything that I had to get on base for my team," Washington told reporters after Tuesday's game. "That last at-bat, really all that was going through my head was, 'Don't let Rachel [Garcia] go out and pitch another inning.' Whatever it took, if it was a home run, a bunt, I didn't really care what it was. Just anything to get it done."

UCLA capped off its championship season with a perfect 5–0 mark at the WCWS, and finished the year with a record of 56–6. The Sooners, who committed five errors in their two championship-series games versus the Bruins, completed their campaign at 57–6.

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