Propelled by a four-run second inning, No. 10 Oklahoma pulled ahead of top-seeded Florida and held on for a 5-4 win and a second consecutive NCAA championship at the Women’s College World Series on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma is the lowest seeded champion in the 36-year history of the Women’s College World Series. The championship is the Sooners’ fourth overall and third in the last five years.
The Sooners took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a home run by Nicole Mendes but Florida, which showed tremendous resiliency throughout the two games, tied it on a home run by Sophia Reynoso in the top of the second. Then, with two outs, a pair of singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Justine McLean scored on a single to right field by Aleshia Ocasio and Amanda Lorenz scored when Kayli Kvistad was hit by a pitch to give the Gators a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, however, Florida walked in a run and Oklahoma’s Shay Knighten, who was named tournament MVP, blasted a three-run double to jump in front, 5-3. Florida scored one more in the top of the third on a home run by Chelsea Herndon but couldn’t get the equalizer in its quest for a third championship in four years. Ocasio took the loss for Florida and Oklahoma’s Mariah Lopez got the win.
The two teams were coming off a five-and-a-half-hour, 17-inning marathon in Game 1 on Monday night. Knighten belted a three-run home run in the top of the 17th to put Oklahoma one win away from becoming back-to-back champions with a 7-5 victory. It was the longest game in NCAA championship series history.