The Oklahoma Sooners swept the Texas Longhorns on Thursday to earn their fourth-straight Women's College World Series championship.

It’s the first time any team has won four straight championships in NCAA softball history.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Just Women’s Sports (@justwomenssports)

Oklahoma pitcher Kelly Maxwell was named 2024 WCWS Most Outstanding Player after the team's 8-4 win sealed the deal for the Sooners.

"They've cemented this program in history," said coach Patty Gasso after the game, whose eight national titles ties Arizona's Mike Candrea for the most won by any coach in Division I softball history. "They've cemented themselves in history. History can change, but these guys will never, ever be forgotten."

The Sooners were dealt some pressure along the way, with their 20-game NCAA tournament winning streak snapped by Florida earlier in the week. There were no guarantees about Texas, either, with the Longhorns topping Oklahoma in their regular season series earlier this year. 

Gasso even conceded that this has been the team’s hardest title win yet, even though the Sooners outscored Texas 16-7 over two games in the finals. The title is Oklahoma's eighth championship overall, as well as their sixth in the past eight postseasons.

"'Heavy is a head that wears the crown' is the one thing that really stuck out," Gasso said. "I heard someone say that. That really has felt true. It's been exhausting. These players are exhausted, but they keep going."

Oklahoma is on the brink of a four-peat at the Women’s College World Series after taking Game 1 over Texas of the championship series 8-3. 

Should the Sooners win, they earn an eighth-overall and fourth-straight WCWS title. No other team has won four consecutive NCAA softball championships. 

"This is it," Sooners pitcher Kelly Maxwell, who transferred in this season from Oklahoma State, said of being on the brink. "This is my last opportunity. I'm just going to do everything I can to keep this team in it. I know that they have my back and I got theirs."

While Oklahoma has dominated throughout the regular season, they did face an unexpected setback courtesy of a red-hot Florida team. In Monday’s Game 11, the No. 6-seeded Gators snapped the Sooners’ 20-game NCAA tournament win streak, forcing Tuesday’s winner-take-all Game 12 with a convincing 9-3 win. Florida’s victory was fueled by two monster home runs from infielder Skylar Wallace alongside Keagan Rothrock’s ace pitching.

Despite the upset, a recomposed Oklahoma took the field the following day for a tight eight-inning clash culminating in a walk-off blast from Jayda Coleman that sent the Sooners to WCWS final.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Just Women’s Sports (@justwomenssports)

But head coach Patty Gasso knows there’s still work to be done in the WCWS.

"We're not over-jubilant because we know there's still a lot of work to do against a very, very good team that has very good pitchers, very good hitters," Gasso said. "We know what's in front of us still. So you don't see us celebrating."

Texas, meanwhile, entered the postseason as the No. 1 overall seed. And the Longhorns are not about to roll over: In their Super Regional against Texas A&M, they lost the first game before winning the next two to advance. 

Earlier this season, they lost the first game of their series to Oklahoma before rebounding to take their first series over the Sooners since 2009.

"Now it's theirs to lose in some respect," Texas coach Mike White said of the Sooners. "They have to win one of the next two games. I like being in that position, sometimes being the underdog. We're the top dog for a little bit, so to speak, but were we? They're three-time national champions. It's a mind game. 

"Champions reframe. How can we reframe from this loss, what we're facing right now, come out and have a better game and see if we can play some good softball."

Game 2 of the WCWS Championship Series starts at 8 PM ET on Thursday, June 6th and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Game 3, if necessary, will air on ESPN on Friday, June 7th starting at 8 PM ET.

The Women's College World Series began on Thursday, as eight teams vie for the 2024 NCAA championship title.

UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida have already moved on to the winners' bracket, emerging from Thursday's first round victorious. Meanwhile Alabama, Duke, Stanford, and Oklahoma State will face elimination tonight after all suffering first-round losses.

Texas and Oklahoma enter the final week of the postseason as top seeds, with the Longhorns winning the regular season and the Sooners taking the Big 12 Tournament Championship. Oklahoma is currently eyeing their fourth-straight title, having won every NCAA softball championship since the suspended season in 2020.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NCAA Softball (@ncaasoftball)

Despite an excellent regular season, Texas is still on the hunt for its first softball championship. And in yesterday's decisive win 4-0 over Stanford, Texas freshman Teagan Kavan became the first freshman in college history to throw a complete game shutout. 

"I knew I was prepared and had been in front of a big stage before," Kavan said of her performance on Thursday.

The Blue Devils are also making NCAA history this week. Duke's Marissa Young — the first Black head coach in WCWS history — will lead the Blue Devils to their first visit to the final round of the softball playoffs Friday as they face off against Alabama.

Thursday’s session brought in 12,566 fans — a new session attendance record for the WCWS. All games will be broadcast live across ABC and ESPN networks.

Don't miss a moment of the action:

Game 5: Alabama vs. Duke — Friday, May 31st at 7 PM ET on ESPN2
Game 6: Stanford vs. Oklahoma State — Friday, May 31st at 9:30 PM ET on ESPN2
Game 7: UCLA vs. Oklahoma — Saturday, June 1st at 3 PM ET on ABC
Game 8: Texas vs. Florida — Saturday, June 1st at 7 PM ET on ESPN

Former Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo has signed on with Athletes Unlimited and will compete in the AU Pro Softball AUX this June.

The NCAA record holder in career home runs (122), total bases (761), and slugging percentage (.987), Alo was originally drafted by the league in 2022 but opted instead to join the newly debuted Women’s Professional Fastpitch

Alo currently plays for independent pro softball team Oklahoma City Spark, with team owner Tina Floyd reportedly on board with her recent AUX signing. AUX games are scheduled for June 10-25, while the Spark's season will kick off June 19th. Alo will play for both. 

Among those joining Alo on the AUX roster are former James Madison ace pitcher Odicci Alexander and former Wichita State standout middle infielder Sydney McKinney.

According to Alo, the decision to play in the Athletes Unlimited league was fueled by her desire to propel women's sports forward as well as provide more exposure to a sport that's given her "so many opportunities."

"Not only to challenge myself more, but just for the growth of the game," Alo said, explaining her reasoning to The Oklahoman. "I genuinely believe that professional softball can be a career for girls."

Joining AUX is also one more step in her plan toward representing Team USA at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"I’m constantly thinking about how can I do these little things right in these four years to prepare me for the biggest stage of softball," she told The Oklahoman. "I definitely want to play in the Olympics, for sure."

Alo further expressed enthusiasm in the hope that the rise of other women’s sports, like women’s basketball and the NWSL, will push softball’s professional viability even higher.

"We’re seeing the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) get their stuff going, I see the WNBA starting to get hot," she continued. "I feel like the softball community is like, 'All right, it’s our turn and it’s our turn to just demand more.'"

College softball has a new No. 1, with Duke ascending to the top of the rankings for the first time in program history. 

With a number of quality wins under their belt, and a series sweep of North Carolina over the weekend, the Blue Devils currently hold a 33-3 record. But clearing the way for Duke was a historic upset of perennial powerhouse Oklahoma. 

After winning the first game in their series against Texas, the Sooners were stunned on Saturday by the Longhorns with a wild finish. Sunday featured Texas pitchers stifling the Sooners’ bats for a 2-1 win. 

It's Texas' first series win over Oklahoma since 2009, and marks the first time the Sooners have lost a Big 12 series since 2011. 

Afterward, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said that she wasn’t worried about her team – and feels as though they can take away some positives from the performances. 

“We needed this,” Gasso said. “We needed to feel this. Are we broken? Are we shaken? Absolutely not. What we need to do, and we know, is go back to Norman and reset. To face a crowd that was outstanding, and I’ll tell you, as someone who is advocating for growing our sport, we love those crowds even though they’re against us. They are very vocal. We love it.

“This is coming at the right time.”

She also commended Texas’ pitchers, who held Oklahoma to two runs in two days, calling them “outstanding.”

"They came at us, they were confident, you could feel all that, and we just left too many opportunities,” she said. “We weren't getting our swings off.”

Third baseman Alysa Brito echoed Gasso’s sentiments. 

“I’m not too worried about it, honestly,” she said of the losses. “Like coach [Gasso] said, the sun rises again tomorrow and we get to go to practice and work and get at it for another day. I think this is a learning experience and this is something we need as an offense to push us.

“This is only going to prepare us for what’s to come and I’m excited to see how we respond collectively.”

Softball pitcher Jordy Bahl is out for the season after tearing her ACL during opening weekend.

Bahl, who won two national championships at Oklahoma before transferring to Nebraska, posted on social media that she injured her knee while delivering a pitch against Washington. The Cornhuskers were at a tournament in Puerto Vallarta, with Bahl pitching in a game on Feb. 8.

“With a heart thankful for God’s plan and timing, I will be redshirting this year, and looking forward to a season of growth and learning from a different point of view,” Bahl posted Tuesday. “I’m thankful for the support of my family, friends, coaches, and staff. I’m truly blessed to have so many wonderful and loving people in my life. I’m not going anywhere. See you in 2025.”

If granted a medical hardship waiver for the season, Bahl will have two seasons of eligibility left.

“Obviously, we are all disappointed to hear the news of Jordy’s season-ending knee injury,” Nebraska coach Rhonda Revelle said in a statement. “We are grateful that Jordy is in excellent care with our medical team and are confident in a full recovery.”

Bahl, a native of Nebraska, announced her transfer last June – one week removed from leading Oklahoma to a third straight national championship. She was named Most Outstanding Player in the WCWS, and it was expected she would bolster Nebraska this season.

The Cornhuskers entered the season ranked 18th in the country, and are currently 2-2.

Naomi Osaka is remaining positive despite losing in her second game back at the Brisbane International. The four-time Grand Slam champion fell to Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

“The week is definitely shorter than I wanted it to be,” Osaka said.”I feel like I’m pretty good where I am right now. Even the last time I played her, I think I played better today.”

Osaka fired 14 aces and just two double faults. She won 83 percent of points when getting her first serve into play.

Pliskova also won her last match with Osaka.

“I think I’m enjoying myself a lot more, and I also realize there’s a lot of things that aren’t in my control. I feel more aware that I’m playing the best players in the world. Both of us have an opportunity to win,” Osaka said, noting how her approach to winning and losing has changed.

“I’ve trained so hard since giving birth, I need to enjoy these moments … I do feel different. I mean, of course I feel sad, but the sadness is me being like, ‘Aww, I wish I could have done better, because I know I’m spending so much time away from [Shai], so I want it to be worth it somehow.

“For me even stepping on the court is a personal win because a couple of weeks ago I was even doubting if I could play with everyone. So I guess these two matches that I’ve had kind of prove to me that I am doing OK, and the year is just going to get better for me.”

In the hours after Jordy Bahl announced her commitment to Nebraska, it became evident the star softball pitcher was already having an impact.

According to reporter Mitch Sherman of The Athletic, Nebraska’s athletic department took 2,124 requests for softball season tickets in the days following Bahl’s announcement. To put that in perspective: The program had 365 season-ticket holders for the 2023 softball season and just 26 requests for 2024 prior to Bahl’s announcement.

In her two years at the University of Oklahoma, Bahl won two national titles and finished with a 44-2 record. She was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 Women’s College World Series. The native of Papillon, Neb., cited her desire to grow softball in her home state when she announced her decision to transfer.

“I am excited thinking about growing the game that has provided me so many opportunities for growth, in the home state, a current overlooked state for girls in softball at all ages, and I am excited to finish the softball journey right where it began,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

After leading Oklahoma to a third straight title at the 2023 Women’s College World Series, sophomore pitcher Jordy Bahl will return to her home state of Nebraska to continue her career, she announced Monday.

A native of Papillion, Nebraska, Bahl enters the transfer portal fresh off a star performance at the WCWS, in which she tossed 24 ⅔ scoreless innings across five games and won the Most Outstanding Player award. She recorded a three-inning save in the series-clinching win against Florida State.

While Bahl initially did not specify a destination, she revealed Thursday that she will join the Nebraska Cornhuskers. She had committed to the Cornhuskers as a high school freshman before reopening her recruitment and joining the Sooners.

“I have decided to return home and play the game I love, closer to the things that have made me who I am and that have always been more important to me than this game,” Bahl wrote.

Her career ERA for Oklahoma is 1.00. The two-time All-American finished the 2023 season with a 0.90 ERA, second in the country behind Stanford’s NiJaree Canady, and helped the Sooners finish the season on an NCAA record 53-game winning streak. Yet she will not be on hand as the team looks to extend that streak next spring.

Bahl described the move as “bittersweet,” and she thanked the Oklahoma program, her teammates and her coaches for the opportunities she received. But she also described the difficulty of being away from her home, and her excitement to grow the game in the “overlooked state” of Nebraska.

“I am excited to finish the softball journey right where it began,” she wrote.

Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso supported Bahl’s decision, describing her as “the ultimate competitor” and praising her “approach and dedication to the game.”

“We’re understanding of her situation and certainly want her to be the happiest she can be,” Gasso said.

Oklahoma softball closed out its historically dominant season with even more dominance, sweeping Florida State in the 2023 Women’s College World Series finals en route to a third straight NCAA championship.

The Sooners (61-1) beat Florida State 3-1 on Thursday behind back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, handing star FSU pitcher Kathryn Sandercock her first loss since March 12. They extended their own NCAA record winning streak to 53 games, with their last loss coming on Feb. 19.

With the win, Oklahoma also becomes just the second team to win three consecutive NCAA Division I softball titles, joining the UCLA Bruins, who did so in 1988-90. Yet despite their dominance throughout the season, the twin pressures of the winning streak and the championship streak weighed on the Sooners.

“What you feel right now from us is freedom, because it was absolutely suffocating as we’re going along,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso told ESPN on the field after the game. “The expectations were overwhelming, but they handled it like champions and that’s why we are here right now.”

Oklahoma’s bats contributed to the win, particularly the home runs from Cydney Sanders and Grace Lyons, but the pitching and defense did their part as well.

Oklahoma outfielder Jayda Coleman robbed a would-be three-run home run from FSU’s Kalei Harding in the third inning.

And Oklahoma took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Gasso put pitcher Jordy Bahl in the circle to hold onto it. Bahl had been lights out throughout the WCWS, and she retired all nine hitters she faced Thursday to secure the win.

“I don’t have a lot of words right now,” Bahl said in an interview with ESPN on the field after the game. “…We stick together. It’s not just one person who feels it, we all feel it. Sticking together is one of the toughest challenges this year.”