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Oklahoma beats Florida State to force decisive Game 3 in WCWS championship series

  • June 10, 2021

Oklahoma superstar slugger Jocelyn Alo hadn’t been quiet.

Not in her two appearances before she stepped to the plate in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s second game of the Women’s College World Series championship series. Not in this record-breaking season. Not in her career.

And Alo delivered the loudest moment of her already storied Sooners career against Florida State to keep Oklahoma’s season alive, blasting a home run to give her team the lead and lift the hat on the Sooners’ offense in a 6-2 win.

Oklahoma will face Florida State one more time — at 3 p.m. ET Thursday — in the deciding game of the series as the Sooners look to win the program’s fifth national championship.

Until Alo stepped to the plate in the sixth, hard-hit balls weren’t coming easy for Oklahoma against Florida State ace Kathryn Sandercock.

Jana Johns blasted a tape-measure shot over the left-field wall in the third, and three batters later, Alo laced a single off Sandercock’s shin.

Outside of those two, there was little solid contact for the Sooners’ offense.

But if Sandercock’s success — against most everyone else, Alo walked in her first at-bat — got to Alo, she sure didn’t show it.

“It could be real easy for a hitter like her to just say, ‘You know what, I’m that good and nobody else is. What are you guys doing?’ ” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “And she’s right in the middle of this. She is right in the middle of this team and trying to help them get rallied. She’s not too big for these guys. She definitely is a great team player.

“We, without question, needed that, and she was the spark throughout the game.”

Alo certainly sparked them in a critical situation Wednesday.

Sandercock tried not to give Alo much to work with.

Her first pitch was on the outside edge of the plate but low. Her second, in nearly the same position.

“So then I had to come a little back in on her,” Sandercock said.

It wasn’t a bad pitch — a dropball low and on the outside edge of the zone. But Alo is capable of punishing pitchers — and the ball — on much more than just mistakes that find the middle of the plate.

The senior reached out and crushed Sandercock’s offering over the right-center field wall for an opposite-field home run that gave the Sooners their first lead of the championship series and brought the crowd filled with mostly Oklahoma fans to a roar.

The home run was the Sooners’ 159th of the season, breaking the NCAA record of 158 set by Hawaii in 2010. It also gave Oklahoma the record for most runs in a season, breaking the record previously held by Arizona in 1995.

Alo, the Oahu native, sprinted around the bases, eager to celebrate the record-breaking and game-changing homer.

“The last time I circled the bases that quickly was probably my freshman year,” Alo said, saying she knew the ball was out when it left the bat. “My first-ever home run.”

The home run was Alo’s 33rd of the season, extending her program record.

The inning started when Tiare Jennings reached on an error, setting up Alo’s blast that lifted the Sooners out of a 2-1 hole.

“It’s hard to be upset when Jocelyn Alo hits a home run off of you,” Sandercock said. “Tip your cap. It was a hard pitch to hit and she hit it hard.”

After Alo reached home plate, she ripped off her helmet and let out a “Let’s go!” that nobody but Alo could actually hear.

Hard to make out words with the noise reverberating through USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Sooners went from there.

Alo’s was the first of five consecutive hits, with singles by Mackenzie Donihoo and Jayda Coleman driving home insurance runs, though the home runs by Johns and Alo proved plenty for Sooners ace Giselle Juarez, who kept up her fantastic WCWS run after Florida State’s Elizabeth Mason got to her with a two-run homer in the first.

“She is very, very unfazed by anything,” Gasso said. “And she believes that she can beat any pitcher any time, any place. And she usually does. And that is Jocelyn. She’s very, very prideful of her hitting and it bleeds into our team.”

Oklahoma added another run in the seventh before Juarez retired the side in order, securing one more day for a magical season.

“That’s a big deal for this group,” Gasso said. “They fought very hard throughout the season to get here. So should be an exciting day tomorrow.”

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