OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tiare Jennings’ two-run homer in the first inning sparked Oklahoma to an 8-3 win over Texas on Wednesday night that left the Sooners one win from a record fourth straight national title.

Jennings had two hits and three RBIs and Kinzie Hansen had two hits, including a two-run homer, for the Sooners in Game 1 of the best-of-three Women’s College World Series championship series.

Second-seeded Oklahoma (58-7) had nine hits and three home runs against a Texas squad that threw three one-hit shutouts in three World Series games. The Sooners could clinch their eighth overall championship in Game 2 on Thursday night.

Mia Scott hit a solo homer for No. 1 Texas (55-9).

It was another chapter in the storied rivalry between the programs, which will both leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference next year. Oklahoma beat Texas in the national championship series in 2022. Texas won the Big 12 regular-season title this year, but Oklahoma won the conference tournament.

The Sooners played Tuesday, while Texas had the day off, but Oklahoma’s Kelly Maxwell negated any edge the rest might have provided for the Longhorns. A day after tossing 148 pitches in a semifinal win over Florida, Maxwell threw 119 against the Longhorns. She gave up one earned run and four hits and struck out eight.

Teagan Kavan, Texas’ freshman star, had thrown two one-hitters in victories at the World Series. She opened Wednesday’s game by hitting Jayda Coleman with a pitch. Jennings, the next batter, launched one over the left field fence to put the Sooners up 2-0. It was the 98th home run of Jennings’ career and her 11th at the World Series.

Hansen’s two-run homer and Kasidi Pickering’s solo shot back-to-back in the third gave the Sooners a 5-1 lead and chased Kavan.

Texas scored two in the sixth and had two on with two outs when Maxwell struck out Victoria Hunter swinging to keep Oklahoma ahead 7-3.

Maxwell struck out the final two batters in the seventh to close out the game.


AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports