OKLAHOMA CITY — This could become known as the Monday Night Massacre in Women’s College World Series lore.
UCLA pounded Oklahoma senseless to capture a 16-3 victory before a stunned partisan crowd of 8,486 fans at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
OU coach Patty Gasso said her team wasn’t hitting on any of the key three cylinders — offense, defense and pitching.
“Not one thing was working the way we expected it to, yet this team is still in the locker room waiting to come in here and saying ‘Hey, let’s go. We’ve been here before,’” Gasso said. “I think the score … if anything, I told them not to read what people are being saying about us. Don’t get caught up in that.
“I think the thing that hurt them the most is feeling like they disappointed our fans. They are very prideful about the University of Oklahoma and playing in Oklahoma City, a lot of fans are here to see the Sooners. I think that was the thing that really disappointed them the most.”
The Bruins (55-6) now need one victory in the best-of-3 series to capture their first WCWS championship since 2010. Oklahoma has to win on Tuesday and Wednesday to win a national title for the third time in four years. The next two games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
One statistic to remember: The team that has won the first game has gone on to win a national championship in 11 of the past 14 series.
It’s only one result and it’s one that needs to be quickly forgotten by the Sooners.
“It’s really important to let it go, flush it,” OU’s Sydney Romero said. “It’s a new day tomorrow. We just have to come out and fight.”
“We have nothing to lose from here on out and everything to gain. I think we’re going to take that mentality into tomorrow. We know it’s all or nothing so we are going to go all out.”
After watching how UCLA easily handled the Sooners, the path to victory will be a tough one.
How bad were things for Oklahoma on Monday night?
OU had 25 games end early this season after heftily outscoring opponents before seven innings had been played. During the Bruins’ six-run sixth inning, this announcement was made in the press box: “Just a reminder, there is no run rule in the championship series.”
Moments later, Rachel Garcia hit a two-run homer to increase the Bruins’ lead to 11-1.
UCLA had the most runs (16) and hits (15) by an Oklahoma opponent this season. The 13-run margin of victory is the widest margin in a WCWS championship series.
Even during the tough times, Romero said the Sooners were enjoying the moment. They maintain confidence in themselves when things are going good or bad.
“We’ve lost before,” Romero said. “We’ve lost in regionals and we bounced back. We’re really not thinking about it too much. It’s a new day tomorrow.”
UCLA and Oklahoma swapped solo home runs early, with Aaliyah Jordan and Shay Knighten going deep for their respective teams.
The implosion began in the third inning when OU committed three consecutive errors to help the Bruins score two unearned runs against starter Giselle Juarez to take a 3-1 lead.
“We’ve been in positions where we’ll make a mistake and just keep going. But this was not typical of this team,” Gasso said. “Did it bleed into others? I don’t know … There are things that were like ‘whoa, what’s going on?’ It seemed to run into every part of our game.”
In the bottom of the third, Jocelyn Alo took a pitch to the warning track. It was caught at the wall and, instead of a three-run homer, the deficit remained two runs.
And it only grew from there.
UCLA scored in every inning from that point to build its insurmountable lead. During the 13-run avalanche, the Bruins hammered three more home runs to send OU fans racing for the exits.
The only Oklahoma cheer from the second inning came when Grace Green hit a solo homer into the left-field bleachers. That cut the lead to 11-2.
Sydney Romero hit an RBI single in the seventh inning.
The Sooners fell to 57-5.
“We still have another game. That’s all that matters,” Romero said. “We’ll give it our all and go from there.”
UCLA 16, Oklahoma 3
UCLA 102 116 5 — 16 16 1
Oklahoma 010 000 1 — 3 7 4
Garcia, Faraimo (6), Azevedo (7) and Halstead; Juarez, Lopez (5), Saile (6), Mendes (7) and Lynnsie. WP: Garcia (28-1). LP: Juarez (28-3). HR: UCLA, Perez (6), Jordan (12), Garcia (11), Tautalafua (4); OU, Green (17), Knighten (9).
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