Alo homers, Oklahoma beats Texas to reach WCWS semifinals

Jun 4, 2022, 2:58 AM | Updated: 4:05 pm
Oklahoma utility Jocelyn Alo (78) celebrates on the way to home plate after hitting a home run duri...

Oklahoma utility Jocelyn Alo (78) celebrates on the way to home plate after hitting a home run during the first inning of an NCAA Women's College World Series softball game against Texas on Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma got revenge on Big 12 rival Texas and pitcher Hailey Dolcini.

Jocelyn Alo homered and knocked in three runs to help No. 1 seed Oklahoma beat Texas 7-2 on Saturday at the Women’s College World Series.

Oklahoma opened the season with 38 wins before Dolcini shut the Sooners down in a 4-2 Texas victory April 16.

Alo set the tone Saturday with her two-run blast as the second batter of the game. The two-time reigning USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year increased her Division I career-record home run total to 118.

Alo was off her game against Dolcini in April, but she expected to bounce back.

“As good as a pitcher Dolcini is, I’m a really good hitter, too,” she said. “I’m going to trust myself. I’m going to pick myself no matter what. I knew the adjustments I had to make, went out there and made them.”

Tiare Jennings also hit a homer for the Sooners (56-2), who advanced to the semifinals Monday and moved one step closer to defending their national title.

Jennings said the Sooners have changed since the loss at Texas.

“The good thing is they didn’t know us today,” she said. “We came in a whole different team than we were in Austin. That’s something we had an advantage of. We knew that we were different, that’s why we did what we did today.”

Hope Trautwein (20-1) went the distance for the Sooners to claim the win.

Janae Jefferson hit a solo homer in the seventh for Texas (44-20-1).

Alo’s blast in the top of the first was her 30th homer of the season. Dolcini (23-11) settled down after that and retired the next nine batters.

“She was able to hang in there,” Texas coach Mike White said. “That’s a testament to her fight and her determination. She didn’t let it get down. A lot of pitchers would have folded right there, right? Big moment, giving up a home run in the first. You probably would have had to take her out. But I know better than that with her. She’s going to keep fighting for this team, for this club.”

Texas responded to Alo’s homer in the bottom of the first when Alyssa Washington’s double scored Mia Scott.

Oklahoma’s Jayda Coleman doubled in the fifth to score Rylie Boone and put the Sooners up 3-1. Alo then singled to knock in Coleman and chase Dolcini.

Texas freshman Sophia Simpson entered the game, and Jennings tagged her second pitch so hard that it nearly cleared the left field seats. The two-run blast — Jennings’ 26th of the season — bumped Oklahoma’s lead to 6-1.

“I’ve seen a lot of far home runs, but that was elevated to allow her to really get underneath it and get her power in it,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “So it was definitely another momentum builder for the team.”

Texas will play Arizona in an elimination game Sunday. Texas centerfielder Bella Dayton is a transfer from Arizona.

“I do have a lot of respect for them and I love seeing my old teammates because I was super close with them,” she said. “But I’m excited to play with the team I’m on now. I know they have my back with everything that we do. We’re just pumped to keep moving forward.”

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