Oklahoma beats Texas, 10-5, to secure sixth Women's College World Series title

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 09: Grace Lyons #3 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Longhorns during the Division I Women's Softball Championship held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on June 9, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 09: Grace Lyons #3 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Longhorns during the Division I Women's Softball Championship held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on June 9, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The sovereign Oklahoma Sooners are champions again.

Wreathed by its royal subjects clad in crimson and cream, Oklahoma marched through the Texas Longhorns for a 10-5 victory on Thursday night to bring about the highly anticipated coronation as the winner of the 2022 Women’s College World Series. The championship is the Sooners’ sixth softball national title and second consecutive.

In her final curtain call, Sooner star slugger Jocelyn Alo, who was voted the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, caught two of Oklahoma's final three outs from left field. Before the final out of the game, Alo was subbed out and walked back into the dugout to a standing ovation in Oklahoma City, wiping tears from her eyes.

“I love this game, and I’m sad to be walking away from it," Alo told ESPN postgame. "But I’m happy that I ended on top. I’m just so blessed for this journey that God has blessed me with.”

Oklahoma's production this year is made all the more impressive by its 40 run-rule victories (two of which came during the WCWS). The Sooners shaved 73 innings off their workload this season, which equates to more than 10 games and at least 219 foregone at bats.

The Longhorns were 6-0 in NCAA tournament elimination games going into Thursday night’s winner-take-all series, outscoring opponents 25-10 with seven home runs. Until the top of the fifth, it looked like their run would continue.

LHP Estelle Czech (13-2, 3.24 ERA) started for Texas, having sat Wednesday evening after pitching a come-from-behind complete game shutout Monday against Oklahoma State. She held the Sooners, who are known for striking first and hard, to three scoreless innings

Czech was fearless in the first, staring down Alo and striking her out in dramatic full-count fashion. Thirteen of Czech’s 21 pitches in the first inning were strikes. She held the Sooners, who heading into Thursday outscored opponents 116-6 this season in the first inning, to one hit and no runs.

With everything coming up burnt orange, Texas’ defensive woes slinked back in for a moment during the top of the fourth. A crucial Longhorns error gave Oklahoma its first two runs of the evening. Texas answered with a double play, its 12th of the NCAA tournament, to disrupt Oklahoma’s inertia. The game sat steady at 2-2, until an RBI double from Alyssa Brito gave the Sooners their first lead (3-2) in the fifth.

From there the deficit grew with Oklahoma’s legend.

A three-run homer from Kinzie Hansen put the Sooners up 6-2, her first of the WCWS.

Then another three-run homer, this one from Grace Lyons. Sooners, 10-2. It was their third straight game when they scored double-digit runs.

Not to be left out, the Longhorns smashed a three-run homer of their own by way of freshman Mia Scott to bring Texas within five in the bottom of the seventh, where it'd stay.

Freshman RHP Jordy Bahl (22-1, 1.09 ERA) started for Oklahoma after senior Hope Trautwein allowed two hits in five innings and walked four (one home for the Longhorns sole run) Wednesday. It was the NFCA National Freshman of the Year’s first of the postseason, and a chance at redemption for the sole loss on her record, which came at the hands of Texas in April.

Battling a forearm injury (and pitching well, considering), Bahl relied on outstanding Sooners defense, specifically Jayda Coleman, who robbed a home run to end the first. Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso pulled her starter after four innings with the national title on the horizon, allowing Nicole May (2.1 innings pitched) and Hope Trautwein (0.2 innings pitched) to reel in their victory.

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Photo: BreakingT
Photo: BreakingT
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