After staving off elimination with back-to-back day-night doubleheaders, Alabama's Cinderella run through the Women's College World Series came to an end, much like its fairy tale counterpart.
No. 1 Oklahoma unleashed three home runs over its final two innings — for a NCAA-leading 111 on the season — to deliver the eighth-seeded Crimson Tide a 7-3 loss in the second of two national semifinal games Sunday evening from USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The Sooners (57-4) advance to play No. 2 seed UCLA in the best-of-three WCWS national championship series beginning with Game 1 at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The Bruins edged No. 3 seeded Washington with a 3-0 walk-off win in the 10th inning earlier Sunday afternoon.
With the loss, Alabama (60-10) finishes its magical 2019 campaign having equaled its single-season program record for wins at 60, a mark set by the national championship-winning 2012 squad. The Crimson Tide set the record with its 1-0, 8-inning victory over Oklahoma in the first semifinal game of the afternoon.
In the second game Sunday night, the Sooners struck first with a no-out double to right-center field from senior Caleigh Clifton, who'd score herself on a wild pitch after back-to-back strikeouts for junior starter Krystal Goodman to go ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning.
Alabama responded in kind when senior Reagan Dykes smacked a one-out solo home run to left field to cut Oklahoma's lead in half, 2-1, in the top of the second.
But the powerful Sooners offense wouldn't be held down for a second straight game as sophomore slugger Jocelyn Alo drilled a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth that landed in the packing lot behind the stadium.
Nicole Mendes blasted another two-run no-doubter with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to chase Goodman, while Grace Lyons hit a solo shot with two outs to plate a 7-3 lead entering the seventh.
Goodman started in the circle after freshman ace Montana Fouts pitched back-to-back games against sixth-seeded Arizona on Saturday evening and then outdueling Sooners ace Giselle "G" Juarez in a 1-0 shutout over 8 innings earlier Sunday afternoon.
Goodman would get chased after allowing a second two-run home run in back-to-back innings to Alo and Mendes for a 6-3 advantage in the sixth.
Tide senior pinch-hitter Caroline Hardy secured Alabama's 1-0, 8-inning upset earlier Sunday that forced the winner-take-all semifinal against the Sooners.
Hardy, who has come through in the clutch as Alabama's go-to late-inning pinch-hitter throughout the postseason, sent Juarez's 3-2 offering screaming into center field with two outs, allowing fellow senior Reagan Dykes to score from second after a leadoff single to start the bottom of the eighth.