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Women’s College World Series: 3 things to know about Sooners vs UCLA

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Junior center fielder Nicole Mendes smiles as she runs to third base after hitting a home run in the second game against Alabama June 2.

After avoiding elimination by defeating Alabama, 7-3, in the Women’s College World Series semifinals on Sunday, Oklahoma advanced to the WCWS championship against UCLA. Game one will be at 6:30 p.m. CT Monday at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Here are three things to know about the matchup:

The two teams met earlier in 2019

The Sooners were defeated only twice in the regular season, and one of those times was against UCLA at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on February 22. The Bruins dominated the matchup in all facets of the game and left with a 7-1 victory.

Junior Mariah Lopez got the start for Oklahoma and went the first 3.2 innings, but after giving up six hits and six runs, she was pulled for junior Nicole Mendes.

Junior superstar Mariah Lopez, who has pitched the majority of innings for Oklahoma in the WCWS didn’t make an appearance in this game. She will likely get the start on Monday for the rematch.

Rachel Garcia vs Sydney Romero

RHP Rachel Garcia and third baseman Sydney Romero are among the most decorated current players in college softball. Garcia has won the USA Softball National Player of the Year award for two consecutive seasons. Romero was one of the final three candidates for the award.

Garcia shines both in the circle and at the plate. She pitched seven innings in the February matchup, tallying 15 strikeouts and just one earned run.

Romero went 0-3 in the matchup. But the NCFA All-American has a batting average of .435 and is for seventh place in the nation in base hits (83).

The 2000 WCWS

The seniors for each team have reached the WCWS every year in their career, but have never played each other in Oklahoma City. But the Sooners and the Bruins still have some history on softball’s biggest stage.

The Sooners and Bruins clashed in the finals of the 2000 WCWS, with Oklahoma coming out with a 3-1 victory and a national championship trophy, before the WCWS championship was decided in a best-of-three series. It was the first national title in Oklahoma history.

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