Oklahoma offered hints of why it finished atop national softball rankings on Tuesday night, but UCLA offered a whole lot more when it mattered, winning its 12th national championship thanks to a two-out walk-off hit to close the 2019 Women's College World Series.
Facing elimination after an embarrassing 16-3 Game 1 loss, the No. 1 Sooners responded on several occasions in their second go-round with the Bruins, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit and twice tying the game after UCLA leads. But the Bruins never gave in, following up their record 16-run outburst on Monday with an equally strong defensive showing fueled by ace right-hander Rachel Garcia, then sealing their 5-4 World Series win with a tie-breaking single by Kinsley Washington in the bottom of the seventh.
One of three players to log multiple hits against Oklahoma's Giselle Juarez on Tuesday night, Washington came to the plate with Colleen Sullivan on second and the Sooners needing one out to end the inning. Sullivan had reached on a fielder's choice, then advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch from Juarez. All she needed to cross the plate -- and narrowly avoid a tag at home -- was a bloop single to left field.
Prior to the game-winning RBI, Oklahoma looked as if it might claw its way back into contention, knotting the game at 4-4 on a home run by Shay Knighton earlier in the inning. The Sooners also produced a 3-3 tie in the fourth before Bruin Brianna Tautalafua's second bomb in as many days, but Garcia -- the series' Most Outstanding Player -- was on point from the mound, going all seven innings and allowing no more runs after the fourth, in addition to striking out four.
Tautalafua helped pace Garcia's run support with a 3-for-3 day at the plate despite coming in with a .220 batting average, while Washington and right fielder Aaliyah Jordan both had two hits.
UCLA's championship sweeps marks the program's first national title since 2010. In the last 20 years, the Bruins have also claimed the World Series in 1999, 2003 and 2004, topping California in back-to-back years for the latter championships.