Back-to-back-to-back: Oklahoma Sooners capture third straight softball championship
The Oklahoma Sooners are softball national champions yet again.
OU defeated the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 3 to 1 at the Women's College World Series at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
The win resulted in the program's seventh national title, their sixth title out of the last 10, and their third straight.
It's a historic run for Oklahoma, who is only the second program in NCAA history to win three softball titles in a row. UCLA previously accomplished the feat in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
The Sooners continued their dominance on the field, offensively and defensively. The biggest defensive play of the night came in the bottom of the third inning, when Jayda Coleman flew back into the center field wall to rob the Seminoles of a home run.
But Florida State still managed to get on the board first with a home run by Mack Leonard in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Sooners responded the next inning with back-to-back solo home runs by Cydney Sanders and team captain Grace Lyons.
Jordy Bahl — who came on in relief in the fifth inning for starting pitcher Alex Storako — scored the Sooners' third run as a pinch runner in the top of the sixth inning.
Bahl also continued her dominance in the pitching circle, not giving up a single earned run throughout her appearances in the WCWS.
Coach Patty Gasso, who is in her 29th season with the Sooners, said the stress and expectations of the season made it their toughest yet. But, they tried to keep the noise out of their circle.
“We just want to play ball. Jayda Coleman wants to rob home runs. Tiare Jennings wants to hit doubles and be clutch. I mean, that's how they're made. They just want to play ball,” said Gasso. “So I was just trying to - and our coaching staff was just trying to - protect all of us from that.”
FSU coach Lonni Alameda, who played for Oklahoma in the early 1990s, tipped her cap to the Sooners.
“I think the one thing Oklahoma does, and we all try to do, is they keep getting better every year. So, what they were in championships a couple of years ago, they're a better version of themselves now. We all have to do that," Alameda said. "As coaches, we have to go back, and we have to figure out, 'how do we get better to get back here?'"
The Sooners — who only lost one game all season — now stretch their NCAA record winning streak of 53 games into next season.