Three Thoughts on Oklahoma’s 9-3 Loss to Florida in WCWS Semifinals

Florida outfielder Korbe Otis (33) slides into second base safe as Oklahoma second baseman Tiare Jennings (23) attempts to tag out during a Women’s College World Series semifinal game between Oklahoma (OU) and Florida at Devon Park in Oklahoma City, on Monday, June 3, 2024.

After a three-hour rain delay that pushed the first pitch all the way back to 2:06 p.m. CT, it was the Florida Gators who came into the Women’s College World Series semifinals with an edge, taking down Oklahoma 9-3 to force an if-necessary game, which will now be played on Tuesday.

Florida put up at least one run in each of the first three innings, with three earned runs coming against Sooners’ starter Nicole May through the first two innings. Spotting one of the nation’s best offenses a four-spot before scoring a run of your own isn’t exactly a winning formula, and ultimately, it cost Oklahoma.

Here are three thoughts on the game and what it means for Oklahoma going forward.


Sooners Sit Maxwell and Pay the Price

After what we saw from Kelly Maxwell in Saturday’s game against UCLA, it almost felt as if it was a foregone conclusion that the Sooners would roll her out and try their best to put Florida away quickly. Instead, Patty Gasso went with senior Nicole May and it did not go well. May, who has been a polarizing member of the OU pitching staff since she was a freshman, struggled mightily against a Gators offense that has been struggling to find itself since arriving in Oklahoma. In just 2.0 IP, the senior allowed six hits and four earned runs, including two home runs, with one walk and two strikeouts.

Kierston Deal entered for Oklahoma in the third with no outs and a runner on third base. She worked her way out of the jam but allowed one hit and one earned run in the inning. From there, things went downhill for the lefty, as Florida poured on five runs over the next two innings with four hits and four walks from Deal.

The Sooners’ inability to close out innings with two outs (which we’ll talk about more in a second), was costly, and the duo of May and Deal just wasn’t the answer for a potent Florida offense. Without Maxwell in the circle on Monday, Oklahoma looked vulnerable—and after a 10-hit, nine-run outing, I’m not sure how good they feel about the arms outside of the Oklahoma State transfer.


Florida’s Offense Goes Bonkers With Two Outs

When OU answered with its first run of the game in the top of the fourth, it seemed like they might be grabbing some momentum. However, a three-run shot from Reagan Walsh in the bottom half of that frame gave the Gators a 7-1 lead—the largest deficit Oklahoma has faced since 2022.

OU wouldn’t go down without a fight, of course, as they fought back and put up a couple of runs in the fifth to make things interesting, but as was the case for the entire day, Florida answered back as Skylar Wallace hit a two-run shot—her second home run of the game—in the bottom half of the fifth to make it 9-3. UF went 9-for-21 (.429) on the day and 3-for-5 (.600) in the leadoff spot.

Even with all of that, the stat that really tells the story of Florida’s offensive day is this—All nine runs for the Gators came with two outs. Florida was 6-of-11 (.545) with two outs, 9-of-18 (.500) in advancement opportunities and 4-of-9 (.444) with runners in scoring position. With that kind of success at the plate, it’s no wonder that Florida jumped on Oklahoma the way that it did.


Oklahoma’s Offense Stalls in the Worst Possible Moments

Oklahoma’s batting rotation seemed to make great contact with the ball for the entire afternoon, but every time that it felt like they might be getting some momentum, the well would go dry. In almost every inning, there was a ball that appeared struck well enough to leave the park, but by the time it reached its destination, it had died at the warning track.

The top of Oklahoma’s lineup—one through five–went a combined 3-for-15 (.200) on the day. Their top-five RBI leaders on the year. Jayda Coleman (0-for-3), Alyssa Brito (0-for-2), Kasidi Pickering (0-for-2), and Cydney Sanders (0-for-3) were a combined 0-for-10 at the plate.

Kinzie Hansen (2-for-3), Ella Parker (2-for-4), Tiare Jennings (1-for-3), Rylie Boone (1-for-3) and Avery Hodge (1-for-3) provided the hits for the Sooners’ offense, but it simply wasn’t enough.

Sure, seven hits and three runs would’ve been enough to win several games this season, but against a Florida team that can score with the best of them, OU simply needed more. On the day, Oklahoma was 7-for-25 (.280), 3-for-17 (.176) with runners on, and 2-for-10 (.200) with runners in scoring position. Squandering opportunities like that is going to cost you against decent teams, let alone a team that vying for a chance to make the WCWS Championship Series.

What’s Next?

Oklahoma and Florida will play an if-necessary game on Tuesday. (Time/Network TBA) The winner will advance to the WCWS Finals, and the loser will have their postseason run come to an end.

Most Popular

To Top