The Women’s College World Series continued with highlight-worthy performances, elite plays and top-notch hitting on Friday — most of which came from Oklahoma and UCLA.
The Bruins picked up the first win of the day with a 6-2 victory over Arizona in a seventh-inning surge, while Oklahoma topped its Bedlam rival Oklahoma State with a solid performance from start to finish. With these two teams advancing, here are the three biggest takeaways from Day 2 of the Women’s College World Series.
UCLA is a team that knows how to finish strong
When the two winningest softball programs in history face one another on the biggest stage, intensity is expected. Perfection is demanded. Excellence is revealed. Arizona and UCLA put all of this on display and more when the powerhouse programs took the field on Friday, but in the end, the Bruins were just too much for the Wildcats to handle.
Player of the Game Rachel Garcia helped put UCLA on the board first with a sacrifice fly deep into the outfield to bring in teammate Bubba Nickles, who also scored last night against Minnesota. Arizona’s Malia Martinez made a diving catch to earn the out against Garcia, but the senior Bruin’s work set the momentum for UCLA in this rivalry game. Arizona held tough and scored a run of its own after a homer from Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, tying the game, but the Bruins still had five more runs in them. This would not be a close game for long. UCLA walked away with its win against Minnesota after a three-run homer in the sixth inning on Thursday, and they found that late game magic again against the Wildcats.
Malia Quarles made it 2-1 after a homer in the sixth, and a series of walks and hits sent Briana Perez, Stevie Wisz, Taylor Pack and Jacqui Prober across the plate to extend the lead to 6-1. Arizona punched one more homer over the fence to end the game 6-2, but the outcome, the end of game surge and the dominance was all too familiar. UCLA is a team that has a second gear, and the question now is just how much more they can push.
Oklahoma is Oklahoma again
The Sooners struggled against Alabama on Thursday night before pulling out their gritty 3-2 win in the sixth inning, but on Friday a different team took the field. The Sooners surged out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and held the lead for the entire contest. Oklahoma State picked up a run in the second, but Friday night was still all Oklahoma. Sooner Nicole Mendes picked up a run after a single, a barreling run to third off a single from Grace Lyon and a dash to home after Aviu was walked. Lyons then scored when Oklahoma State walked Clifton. Romero added Oklahoma’s sixth and final run after another walk in at the top of the sixth inning.