OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kelly Maxwell threw a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts and three-time defending national champion Oklahoma beat UCLA 1-0 on Saturday to reach the Women’s College World Series semifinals.

Maxwell struck out UCLA star Maya Brady three times. She had seven strikeouts against the top four players in the Bruins’ batting order.

Tiare Jennings’ solo homer in the third inning provided all the scoring for the second-seeded Sooners (56-6).

Oklahoma earned a day off and would need to lose twice on Monday to be eliminated.

Freshman Kaitlyn Terry and sophomore Taylor Tinsley combined to allow just four hits for No. 6 UCLA, which saw its winning streak end at 14 games. The Bruins (43-11) will play in an elimination game Sunday against Stanford.

It lived up to the expectations of a game matching rival bluebloods. UCLA has the most World Series titles with 12 and Oklahoma is third with seven. UCLA beat Oklahoma for the 2019 championship — the last time the Sooners didn’t win. Oklahoma defeated UCLA in the semifinals in 2022.

In the top of the third inning, Oklahoma’s Alynah Torres misjudged a high pop-up by Jadelyn Allchin and the ball hit her in the face. She left the game and did not return. The hitter was called out via the infield fly rule, but runners advanced to second and third with two outs. Maxwell struck out Sharlize Palacios to end the threat.

Jennings’ homer was the 96th homer of her career, breaking a tie for third in Division I history with former Oklahoma star Lauren Chamberlain. Oklahoma nearly had more that inning, but Janelle Meono caught Kasidi Pickering’s deep fly ball against the wall for the second out, and UCLA escaped further damage.

UCLA got two on with one out in the sixth, but Maxwell escaped again. She got a fly ball out then notched her 10th strikeout to end the threat.

Maxwell faced Brady for the fourth time with two outs and none on in the seventh and forced her to ground out to end the game.


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