No. 1 Oklahoma softball returned to Marita Hynes Field on Saturday for the second game of their best-of-three Super Regional bout with No. 16 Washington after the Sooners took Game 1 on Friday. A win meant Patty Gasso’s squad would be once again returning to the Women’s College World Series.
Getting the start for Oklahoma was senior Shannon Saile (17-0) who was tremendous working five shutout innings allowing only four hits. Between her performance on Saturday and Nicole May’s on Friday, Sooners pitching had a fantastic weekend.
The Sooners would get the scoring started early with second baseman Tiare Jennings ripping a leadoff double to open the game and then later coming across the plate on a wild pitch. Oklahoma held a 1-0 lead after the opening frame.
After center fielder Jayda Coleman drew a bases loaded walk to score a run in the second, third baseman Jana Johns would come through with one of the big swings of the day in the top of the third. With a runner on second base, Johns pounded a ball over the left field wall for a two-run home run to make the lead 4-0.
The Huskies would get on the board in the bottom of the third off of Saile to cut into the deficit slightly at 4-1, but the Sooners bats would quickly get that run back and then some in the following inning on a pair of home runs.
First came designated player Jocelyn Alo, who hit a two-run laser to right field for her 30th home run of the season.
Two batters later, catcher Kinzie Hansen connected with a solo home run also to right field. Suddenly, Oklahoma was cruising to the tune of a 7-1 lead.
After holding Washington scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, the Sooners would move the game into run-rule territory in the fifth scoring two runs on RBI hits from the pinch-hitting Lynnsie Elam and Alo. Saile would then get the final three outs for the 9-1 run-rule win.
The win moves Oklahoma to 50-2 on the season and punches their ticket back to the WCWS for a fifth consecutive season. This entire year has been a master class in coaching by Gasso and this weekend was no different with the Sooners mostly cruising to two wins over a really good Washington team.
The lone question mark with this juggernaut Oklahoma team has been if they have enough pitching, but in both the Regionals and Super Regionals the Sooners dominated in the circle. They have to be playing with immense confidence going into next week’s bid for a national title.
Oklahoma will now await the winner of the Super Regional bout between No. 9 Missouri and James Madison in the first round of the Women’s College World Series that begins on Thursday in Oklahoma City.