Jocelyn Alo insisted she wasn’t claiming a five-inning run rule win.
After Tiare Jennings’ three-run home run in the first inning of Monday’s playoff against UCLA, ESPN cameras caught Alo holding up five fingers and repeating a phrase that appeared to herald OU’s 40th run rule win.
Whether Alo was prophetic or not didn’t matter in the end because Alo and the Sooners thrashed the Bruins and left no doubt that the game would be called off early.
OU set a Women’s College World Series record for widest margin with a 15-0 win over UCLA at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium and sent the Sooners to the WCWS championship series for the third straight season.
And Alo was the center of attention, setting the tone both emotionally and on the pitch.
The Bruins beat the Sooners 7-3 earlier in the day and brought OU to the brink of elimination.
Carlson:OU didn’t want to play two against UCLA, but Sooners got away with a “blessing.”
“I went into this game with all the confidence because I knew we were going to come out with the W,” Alo said of the second game. “Nobody beats us – nobody beats the Sooners twice.”
OU coach Patty Gasso said there was no panic in the dugout between games and Alo was key to setting that confident tone.
“She’s consistent,” Gasso said. “She’s near me, so I hear her. She is constant. She could sit on the bench. She could be sipping on a smoothie or whatever she wants to do in there, and she doesn’t. Your face is directly in front of the screen. She is on fire and talks all the time.”
The best-of-three championship series, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, will be an all-Big 12 affair.
OU (57-3) will take on either Oklahoma State or Texas.
On Monday, those two rivals were the only two teams to beat the Sooners this season.
OU won three of four against each team this season, falling to the Longhorns in the final game of their regular season series in Austin and dropping the Big 12 championship game against the Cowgirls.
The Sooners beat Texas 7-2 on Saturday and advanced to the semifinals on Monday.
More:Why Jocelyn Alo’s journey from Hawaii to OU softball is ‘like incredible fiction’
OU has recovered well from losses over the past few years and did so again on Monday.
In the Sooners’ three games straight after a loss, they have outplayed their opponents 39-0, with all three games ending in run-rule fashion.
Alo was even more dominant in these situations than she normally is, going 7-on-10 with 11 RBIs and three homers.
Monday was no different.
Alo’s first inning double set up Jennings’ three-run blast shortly thereafter.
Then, in the second, Alo hit a three-barrel shot himself, a towering shot that leaped to hit a food truck well past the left field wall.
Alo added a grand slam in the Sooners’ fifth run to finish 4-on-4 with a WCWS record tying seven RBIs.
“She’s the most confident young lady I’ve ever met in my life, to the point where you’re like, ‘Okay, don’t say that, Jocy,'” Gasso said. “But she is. she wears it Maybe that’s why she did it, because it’s not about fooling anyone, it’s more about her excitement. She is brimming with excitement and love for the game and it’s fun to watch her enthusiasm.”
More:‘All hands on deck’ for OU softball pitching staff, but new WCWS schedule helps Sooners
Alo is now 8-for-12 in this year’s WCWS with three homers and 10 RBIs.
In 22 WCWS career games, she has hit .451 with 16 runs scored, 24 RBIs and 10 home runs.
On Saturday, after that 7-2 win over his team, Longhorns coach Mike White compared OU’s lineup to the New York Yankees’ vaunted “killer streak” of 1927.
After Monday’s games, Gasso compared Alo to the central figure of this lineup.
“I think Jocelyn Alo is a big reason why this sport has gone to another level,” Gasso said. “People come here to see her like she’s Babe Ruth. You pay to see Jocelyn Alo.
“Just to see that and be around it just bleeds our whole team. They all want a little piece of what Jocy has.”
Carlson:Jocelyn Alo decided that Texas OU would not close again. She did something about it in WCWS.