Sooners secure WCWS bid, set mark for consecutive all-time wins

May 27, 2023, 5:29 PM

Oklahoma nearly let history slip away as it saw a four-run lead turn into a three-run deficit against Clemson in Game 2 of the Norman Super Regional on Saturday.

But, down to their final strike, the defending champions fought back, tying things up on a Kinzie Hansen three-run homer and then getting the go-ahead solo home run from Tiare Jennings in the ninth inning to win 8-7 and advance to the Women's College World Series next week.

The win gives the Sooners the most consecutive victories of all time (48). Arizona (1996-97) was the previous record holder.

Oklahoma also holds the third-, fourth- and fifth-longest win streaks (41 games in 2019, 40 games in 2020-21 and 40 games in 2021-22).

The Sooners (56-1) are the prohibitive favorites to win a third straight WCWS. They have won six championships under coach Patty Gasso, including five in the past 10 years.

Their only loss this season came in February against Baylor -- a 4-3 defeat on the road. They later swept a three-game series against the Bears in Waco, Texas, in April.

Center fielder Jayda Coleman led off Saturday's win over Clemson with a home run. The next batter, second baseman Jennings, made it back-to-back slams with a homer over the right-field fence.

Third baseman Alyssa Brito also hit a home run in the top of the fourth inning. It was her third straight game with a homer -- her longest streak this season and tied for the longest streak of her career.

But in the bottom of the inning, Clemson responded as Maddie Moore hit a three-run homer to left field.

In the next inning, McKenzie Clark hit a two-run homer to give the Tigers the lead. It was her 13th home run this season -- the most she's had in a season in her career.

An Alia Logoleo walk with the bases loaded and a fielder's choice by Moore scored two more runs.

Oklahoma's Kierston Deal (1⅔ innings pitched) and Jordy Bahl (3 innings pitched) didn't allow a single hit or run the rest of the game.

Clemson, which is in its fourth season of competition, was only one strike away from its first super regional victory with player of the year candidate Valerie Cagle on the mound and one runner on base. But Oklahoma's Haley Lee singled a 1-2 pitch to left field and Hansen, down 0-2, hit her 12th home run of the season.

The WCWS begins on Thursday in Oklahoma City.