Alo's 2 HRs lead Oklahoma past UCLA, into WCWS finals

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Oklahoma's Jocelyn Alo (78) hits a grand slam during fifth inning of an NCAA softball Women's College World Series elimination game against UCLA on Monday, June 6, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jocelyn Alo wasn't going to let Oklahoma lose twice in one day.

The record-setting slugger hit two homers, including a grand slam, and the top-seeded Sooners beat No. 5 UCLA 15-0 in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday to advance to the Women’s College World Series finals.

UCLA needed to beat defending national champion Oklahoma twice to advance to the championship series, and the Bruins won the first game 7-3 thanks to two homers from Maya Brady, the niece of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback tweeted his reaction to the performance.

Alo took command for the powerhouse Sooners in the second game, backing a two-hitter from Hope Trautwein (21-1), who struck out six and threw just 67 pitches in a game that was shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.

“We were just in the locker room just kind of resetting, and I went into that game with all the confidence knowing we would walk out of it with the W,” Alo said. “No one beats us — no one beats the Sooners twice. I think we really just stuck to our game plan and kind of zoned in on what it was that we needed to do.”

Oklahoma (57-3) will defend its title against Big 12 rival Texas in a best-of-three championship series starting Wednesday. Texas beat the Sooners earlier in the season, but Oklahoma topped the Longhorns 7-2 in a World Series game on Saturday.

Alo, the two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, increased her Division I career-record home run total to 120. She went 4-for-4 and scored three runs.

“It’s just impressive,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “The strength factor is one thing. There’s different types of hitters that have great hands and they have some that are really strong. I think she has both. She has the ability.”

The Sooners entered Monday unbeaten in the double-elimination format and UCLA had a loss, meaning the Bruins (51-10) needed to win twice to advance. They got the power they needed in the first game from Brady, who hit a three-run blast in the first inning that made it 5-1. Her two-run shot in the seventh increased UCLA's lead to 7-3.

“I think that it just kind of shows that we were a force to be reckoned with the whole time that maybe we didn’t get the respect that we deserved,” Brady said. “And I think that for us to come out and throw a punch against a team like that just shows that UCLA softball is still in the running and still deserves to be talked about.”

In the second game, Jayda Coleman hit a three-run homer in the first inning off UCLA starter Holly Azevedo (21-3), and Oklahoma rolled from there.

After Azevedo allowed the first two baserunners to reach in the second, Megan Faraimo relieved and retired two batters before Alo blasted the first pitch for a three-run homer to make it 6-0.

Alo's grand slam was the highlight of an eight-run fifth inning for the Sooners.

Faraimo (24-5) was the winning pitcher in Game 1 for the Bruins, and Azevedo held the Sooners hitless for the final three innings to earn her first save.

Nicole May (15-1) allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings for the Sooners in the first game, including a two-run homer in the first inning by Delanie Wisz that gave the Bruins a lead they would not relinquish.

The Sooners have outscored opponents 39-0 in their three games following losses this season.

“I think it’s like a second chance, like, we did that wrong, let’s do this right,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “They all buy in on it. I don’t know. It’s just they’re very prideful and very hard-working. They want to represent OU. They want to represent our sport. They just want to let people enjoy the way they play the game.”

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