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Familiar foe stands in way of Sooners' 4th straight title

For just the second time since 2005, the Women’s College World Series Championship Series will be a matchup of No. 1 versus No. 2.

No. 2-seed Oklahoma needing a thrilling, comeback win in extra innings to remain in the hunt to become the first team to ever win four straight national titles. As if the championship series needed any more intrigue, they’ll face off against their fiercest rivals, No. 1-seed Texas, who has looked the most complete for the majority of the season.

“I don’t think we’re trying to prove any point here,” Kelly Maxwell said about being the underdog. “This year has been hard. But we deserve to be here. I think just staying within us and knowing we have a God that serves us, and we’re going to go out here and give it our all.”

The Sooners took the last meeting with the Longhorns, a 5-1 win in the Big 12 tournament title game, but is 2-2 overall against them this season.

The best-of-three series begins 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.

Texas and Oklahoma finished the regular season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in team batting average. They were both inside the top three in runs scored per game and on-base percentage.

The two teams have three combined first team NFCA All-Americans.

Here are three things you need to know ahead of the championship series:

1. How Texas got here — The Longhorns will be playing for their first national championship in program history.

They won the Big 12 regular season crown before falling to the Sooners in the conference championship game. Still, they were named the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and shook off a loss in their first game of super regionals to make it to Oklahoma City.

The Longhorns are 3-0 at the WCWS and are outscoring their opponents 15-0. They run-ruled the same Florida team that nearly eliminated the Sooners, 10-0, in five innings.

“We know each other very well,” Gasso said. “Kind of feel like we’re the underdogs this year. That’s okay. It’s good for us. We had to really fight our way through here. I’m proud of this group and how they did it.”

2. A dominant duo — The Longhorns have used two pitchers through their three games at the WCWS and they’ve allowed just three hits over 19 innings.

Teagan Kavan started the opener and the semifinal against Stanford and struck out 15 batters with two hits allowed. Mac Morgan started the Florida game and fanned five over five innings.

Citlaly Gutierrez also has 10 wins in the circle this season, but hasn’t made an appearance since super regionals.

3. Familiar foes — The Sooners and Longhorns squared off for the national championship just two seasons ago. Oklahoma swept that championship series by a combined score of 26-5.

It was the only other time the Longhorns have made it to the championship series.

The Sooners have played Texas 11 times over the past three seasons and are 8-3 in those games. Two of those losses came in back to back games this season in Austin.

With Kelly Maxwell in the circle, the Sooners allowed just three hits in a 5-2 win in the opener. The next day May got the start and the Longhorns pulled out a close 2-1 win.

Maxwell got the start again in the finale, but the Longhorns pulled out another 2-1 victory.

In four games against the Sooners, Texas has been outscored 7-12.