OKLAHOMA CITY – Jocelyn Alo knew her hit was gone as soon as she contacted.
The Oklahoma slugger blew a clear homer in the sixth inning and the Sooners beat Florida State 6-2 Wednesday night to force a decisive Game 3 for the Women’s College World Series title.
It was Alo’s 33rd home run of the season. USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year added his school record. But this one was different.
“I knew it was out,” Alo said. “And I think the last time I circled around the bases, probably, was my freshman year, my first ever home run.”
The last game is played on Thursday afternoon. Oklahoma (55-4) is seeking its fifth national championship. Florida State (49-1
Alo sent Kathryn Sandercock’s 2-0 pitch over field fences in the center right, giving Sooners a 3-2 lead. Her explosion fired up audiences of 12,115 mostly Sooners fans at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, located about 40 miles from Oklahoma’s campus.
Homer set the Sooners Division I singles season record for home runs with 159, breaking the Hawaii mark set in 2010.
Giselle Juarez threw a complete game for Oklahoma. She gave up two runs in the first inning, then threw six shutout innings and allowed only two hits the rest of the way.
“My hitters came up to me and they were like, ‘We have you, we have your back,'” Juarez said. “And I think for me it’s all about keeping them in that game. They had my back. They always have my back. ”
Juarez improved to 4-0 in the tournament and has only surrendered three earned runs in 24⅓ innings. Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso did not say whether Juarez would start Game 3.
“Everything is on the table right now,” Gasso said. “You have to do everything you can to find a way to win this. So no matter what we have to do – and I know she will do what she has to do too. ”
Mackenzie Donihoo and Kinzie Hansen each added two hits for Oklahoma.
Sandercock, who had been dominant during the World Series, started and gave up four earned runs and seven hits in five innings for the Seminoles, who won the opening of the final best of three 8-4 on Tuesday.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Sandercock said. “We knew they were a good team. We knew they would make adjustments in the box. So that’s what we got. That’s what we saw. And that’s why it’s a series of three games. You’ll have to hit us twice or we’ll hit them twice. So we’re ready to go after it tomorrow. ”
Florida State’s Elizabeth Mason hit a two-run homer in the first, giving the Seminoles an early lead.
Oklahoma’s Jana Johns marked himself to the left field in the third, a shot that hit the 300-foot slow fence on a jump.
Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings reached base on a throwing error in the sixth before Alo’s homer, which highlighted a four-run outburst in inning.
“It was definitely Jocelyn Alo who created this energy, and everyone just started stepping up behind her,” Gasso said.
Mason said the Seminoles are ready to move on.
“Any game, win or loss, is just a mirror game,” she said. “You put it behind you. It does not affect the next game. We knew they were coming out swinging today. We knew they would be a different team today. So we’ll be another team tomorrow. ”