Complete with a fantastic finish, the no. 2 UCLA softball team defeated no. 1 Oklahoma, 5-4, to win the 2019 National Championship, their 12th championship, and UCLA’s 118th.
This season could not have ended more dramatically. After winning the Pac-12 Championship, having an All-American/USA Player of the Year and getting the no. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the UCLA softball team (56-6) defeated top-seeded Oklahoma and win the 2019 National Championship.
The day after winning Game 1 in the Women’s College World Series Championship by a score of 16-3, the Bruins had a tougher time in Game 2. With the Sooners one game away from elimination, Oklahoma did everything they could to stay alive.
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Things got started in the bottom of the first when Bubba Nickles and Briana Perez hit back-to-back jacks over the wall to give UCLA the early 2-0 lead. Oklahoma retaliated in the top of the third when slugger Sydney Romero hit a home run to get the Sooners back to within one.
In the bottom of the frame, Aaliyah Jordan once again came up big as she hit her 13th homer of the season to give the Bruins the 3-1 lead. But Oklahoma was not done either as they connected on two critical hits which drove in two runs to tie the game at three in the top of the fourth. The home run derby continued for UCLA as Brianna Tautalafua nailed her fifth homer of the season to put the Bruins back up by one in the fifth.
With the game moving into the final inning, the Sooners once again struck back as they were three outs away from elimination, but stayed alive when Shay Knighten hit the last home run of the game to tie things up at four.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Bruins were looking to end things as soon as possible. They did not want to go to extra innings. They did not want to play a Game 3. They wanted it all, and they wanted it now.
Colleen Sullivan had managed to get on base with two outs on the board. After a wild pitch, she advanced to second, putting the Bruins in scoring position. That is when head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez put in Jacqui Prober as a pinch runner for Sullivan. And that is when the fireworks started.
On a 1-0 count, Kinsley Washington got the biggest hit of her career as connected with the ball, sending it to shallow left field. Prober hit the gas and rounded third on her way home. The Oklahoma outfielder picked up the ball and launched it home where this game would be decided at the plate.
With Oklahoma’s catcher missing the tag, Prober fell towards home, slapped her hand on the plate, and solidified the National Championship. It was a season, postseason and a game that only dreams are made of.
To top things off, Rachel Garcia won the award for Most Outstanding Player in the WCWS. Additionally, along with Garcia, Aaliyah Jordan, Bubba Nickles, and Kinsley Washington were named to the All-Tournament Team. Congratulations, Bruins!