The top two seeds advanced to the Championship Series for the first time in Women’s College World Series history. Previously squaring off with one another, the No. 2 UCLA Bruins claimed a victory over the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners back in February. Hoping to rewrite the story, Patty Gasso prepared her team for possibly the most difficult challenge of the entire campaign.
In the top of the first inning, Giselle Juarez stepping into the circle. Possessing familiarity with UCLA from her time in the PAC-12, the left-handed pitcher opened play with a strike. Recording two quick outs, it appeared as though the crowd was in for another pitcher’s dual. However, a two-out blast from Aaliyah Jordan put the visiting Bruins on top early.
With a history here at the WCWS, Shay Knighten stepped up to the plate. Looking to return the favor, the first baseman settled in on a pitch. With a single swing of the bat, the senior delivered a homerun off of Rachel Garcia — the National Player of the Year — to even the score at the end of the second inning.
From that point on, the Bruins seized control of the contest as the offensive flood gates opened. Regardless of which hurler Oklahoma utilized in the circle — four different pitchers appeared on Monday night — UCLA found success at the plate. Capitalizing on errors from the defense and numerous homers, the visiting Bruins plated a grand total of 16 runs to put the program within one win of the title.
UCLA’s 16 runs ties a WCWS single-game record
The Oklahoma pitching staff failed to record a strikeout
Committing three errors over the seven innings, the Sooners turned in a season high in the statistical category