Jocelyn Alo gave OU a big spark … once again.
Giselle Juarez was dominant … once again.
And the Sooners are national champions … once again.
OU beat Florida State 5-1 to cap off their fifth Women’s College World Series championship Thursday afternoon.
As the seventh inning started, with the Sooners up four runs, and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” blared throughout USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, OU’s players spread out on the field raised their arms in near unison, encouraging the crowd made up largely of Sooners fans to stand up and get loud.
The got louder when Juarez struck out Cassidy Davis looking to lead off the inning. Louder still when Juarez struck out Dani Morgan, also looking for the second out.
Oklahoma's Jayda Coleman (24) celebrates a home run in the second inning as Florida State's Elizabeth Mason (5) looks on during the final game of Women's College World Series championship series between University of Oklahoma (OU) and Florida State University at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Oklahoma won 6-2. (Photo: SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN)
Plenty of fans surrounding the field then focused their phones on Juarez in the circle, waiting to capture the Sooners’ championship moments. Many of them took a moment to turn around and take a selfie with Juarez in the background.
Some of the air went out of the crowd when right fielder Nicole Mendes ran face-first into the wall trying to catch a foul ball that would’ve ended the game.
But Mendes got up and a pitch later, fittingly, it was Juarez that got the low pop fly right back to her, clutching her glove to give the Sooners the championship.
Juarez won five games in the tournament, earning the WCWS’ Most Outstanding Player award.
All of Juarez’s wins came in do-or-die games, including her complete-game performance in Wednesday’s win to force the decisive Game 3 then another complete game in the finale.
After that win, she said she was ready to go Thursday, even with her recent heavy workload and even with the blazing heat that awaited.
Adrenaline, she said, would carry her.
Whether it was adrenaline or her recapturing the dominance she displayed in 2019, it worked.
The Seminoles managed just two hits on Juarez — the lone run coming on Sydney Sherrill’s high infield double that OU second baseman Tiare Jennings lost in the sun with two outs in the third.
The only other hit came on the game’s first batter, when Kaley Mudge doubled to right center before Juarez settled in.
Juarez threw 31 ⅓ innings in the WCWS, striking out 38 and walking just eight with a 0.89 ERA.
OU became the fourth team to win the WCWS title after dropping their first game of the tournament and the first since the Seminoles accomplished the feat in 2018.
The Sooners became the fourth to lose the first game of the championship series before winning two straight to win the championship and the first since Alabama in 2012 against OU.
OU is the first to do both in one season.
The Sooners got on the board quickly against Danielle Watson, the Florida State starter who left them guessing through much of the Seminoles’ opening-game win Tuesday.
Alo, the hero of Game 2, didn’t wait until the sixth inning this time. Alo drove Watson’s 2-2 pitch far over the left-field wall for a home run on the Sooners’ second batter of the game.
Oklahoma's Jocelyn Alo (78) celebrates a home run with Nicole Mendes (11) in the first inning during the final game of Women's College World Series championship series between University of Oklahoma (OU) and Florida State University at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Oklahoma won 6-2. (Photo: SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN)
For much of the tournament, OU slow starts have been the norm, with the Sooners scoring just one first-inning run and four in the first two innings combined in their first seven games of the WCWS.
But this time, the Sooners didn’t have to wait long for the offense to ignite.
Jayda Coleman hit an opposite-field solo homer in the second, to put the Sooners on top 2-0 and give OU a WCWS record 15 home runs.
In the third, the Sooners broke another record, scoring three runs to surpass the record of 47 runs held by 2011 Florida and 2010 UCLA.
Coleman once again delivered the big blow in the inning, a two-run double to left that narrowly missed leaving the park for another home run.
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