Oklahoma softball: No. 1 OU vs. No. 2 in Saturday night WCWS showcase

The top-seeded Oklahoma softball team responded from its WCWS opening loss with an 8-0 run-rule win over unseeded Georgia  on Saturday to stave off elimination.

Oklahoma slugged three home runs, giving them a nation-leading 150 for the season, and fifth-year senior “G” Juarez shut down Georgia on three hits over 5 1/3 innings aided by 10 strikeouts. Juarez had not pitched since a May 22 win over Wichita State in the Norman Regional. She has a record of 19-1 this season.

Jocelyn Alo launched a two-run blast in the top half of the sixth inning to set up the run-rule victory, the Sooners 35th in 54 games this season. Alo’s home run was her 31st of the season, breaking the Oklahoma program single-season record she shared with former Sooner Lauren Chamberlain.

Sophomore Mackenzie Donihoo, making her first start in the WCWS, started the OU scoring with a two-run homer to left field in the second inning. It was her seventh of the season. She added singles in the fourth and sixth innings to finish off a three-for-three day at the plate.

Junior Kenzie Hansen hit a two-run blast in the fifth inning, widening the OU lead to 5-0.

Oklahoma’s explosive offense, which leads NCAA Division I softball in every major offensive category, has scored 70 runs in seven NCAA Tournament games this season, powered largely by 20 home runs.

Saturday afternoon’s win was second Oklahoma win over Georgia in three games this season. The two teams split a doubleheader at Georgina in April.

The Sooners will have to do it again in a second game on Saturday against UCLA, the No. 2 seed in the 2021 NCAA Softball championship, to advance to the semifinals on Sunday. If Oklahoma is able to get past UCLA, the reigning national champions, the Sooners will face the daunting task of having to win two games on Sunday against Cinderella James Madison, the team that stunned top-ranked OU in the opening game of this year’s WCWS.