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Women’s College World Series: Oklahoma outlasts Stanford in extra innings

Oklahoma's Kinzie Hansen celebrates beside Alex Storako during the Women's College World Series. (BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Oklahoma softball kept its record 51-game winning streak alive, outlasting Stanford in extra innings Monday to reach the Women’s College World Series finals.

Stanford entered the eight-team WCWS in Oklahoma City as the second-lowest seed. The Cardinal were seeded No. 9 overall in the 64-team postseason field but advanced to the WCWS semifinals with wins against No. 5 Alabama and No. 7 Washington.

Stanford’s tournament run set up a rematch with Oklahoma. The Sooners notched a 2-0 win against the Cardinal in the first game of the double-elimination WCWS last Thursday. The Cardinal needed two wins Monday against the Sooners to advance, while the Sooners just needed one win to eliminate the Cardinal.

Led by pitcher NiJaree Canady, Stanford pushed Oklahoma to the brink in the opening game of the semifinals, but Oklahoma won 4-2 in nine innings to advance to the championship series for the fourth consecutive year.

Kylie Chung’s two-run blast in the first inning gave Stanford an early 2-0 lead. Oklahoma clawed its way back, with a solo home run from Jayda Coleman tying the game in the third inning, but Canady held the Sooners’ bats in check. The Cardinal freshman, who pitched a one-hitter Sunday against Washington to help Stanford advance to the semifinals, held her own against a formidable Oklahoma lineup.

The game went to extra innings tied 2-2. After Stanford stranded two runners in the bottom of the eighth, Oklahoma went ahead in the top of the ninth off a two-run double from Tiare Jennings. Sooners pitcher Jordy Bahl then closed out the win in the bottom of the inning.

Oklahoma is seeking its third straight WCWS title. The Sooners also won in 2021 and 2022. The only team in NCAA softball history to claim three titles in a row is UCLA, which won in 1988, 1989 and 1990.