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Women's College World Series: Juarez dominates, Sooners show depth at the plate to beat Oklahoma State, 6-1

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Clifton

Senior infielder Caleigh Clifton runs to first base in the game against Oklahoma State May 31.

OKLAHOMA CITY — It was supposed to be Bedlam in the Women's College World Series.

The top two softball programs in Oklahoma met in the capital of the state for the right to advance to the semifinals of the WCWS.

So, did Bedlam live up to its name? Yes and no.

In the beginning, it looked like fans would get a high-scoring thriller. In the top of the first, sophomore Jocelyn Alo hit a single to center field to score seniors Falepolima Aviu and Caleigh Clifton, and would score off an RBI single from senior Shay Knighten just two at bats later.

The Pokes would respond in the bottom half of the frame with Rylee Bayless speeding from first to home on an RBI single from Michaela Richbourg.

But then things slowed down. Between the second and the fifth innings, the two teams would only knock in two base hits each.

"We want to produce as much runs as possible every single inning, but that's not always the case and we know that," senior Caleigh Clifton said. "Even when we were getting outs, they were hard outs and we still feed off of that. Even if we're getting out, it can be a quality at-bat."

For much of this stretch of play, it became the pitcher's duel between two superstar pitchers — Giselle Juarez for the Sooners and OSU ace Samantha Show.

Show was eventually taken out at the start of the fifth, but Juarez stayed in the circle and showed why she is among the most feared pitchers in the nation. The junior topped her impressive performance Thursday night performance against by tallying 11 strikeouts while only allowing four hits.

"It was fun," Juarez said. "I knew they were going to fight early in the game, so I think it was just about keeping them off balance. (Pitching coach Jeniffer Rocha) did a great job playing chess with them and mixing things up when needed to.

But then things picked back up again, at least for the Sooners. In the top of the sixth inning, Oklahoma scored three more runs, just not in the way the team normally does.

The team leading the nation in batting average got the bases loaded with two singles and a hit-by-pitch. Then, they were walked twice and hit by another pitch to score their final runs, making the score 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.

The Sooners had eight hits from eight different players, proving the depth of their batting order.

"They just feed off of each other. They talk about handing the torch, and they don't want to disappoint each other," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. "But they're really loose, and that's what's really enjoyable about watching them right now. They're engaged and they're not looking at the score board, they're not looking at the outs. They're just creating good memories and having a lot of fun doing it.

Oklahoma's next game will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday against the winner of game 10.

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