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Sooners Sweep Longhorns (Again)

With the sweep of Texas the Sooners continue their winning streak bringing it to 25 games. There was a little bit of everything in this weekend. Dramatic walk off’s, a last inning comeback, and a run rule. Dominant pitching and the bats of Tiare Jennings and Jayda Coleman lead the way. Game by game break down is below.

Game 1: 8-1 (W)

On the night the Sooners broke the NCAA regular season attendance record, the atmosphere was only rivaled by the World Series. There is always excitement around softball games because how few the Sooners get to host in front of their home crowd. Getting to play at Hall of Fame Stadium is always extra but this just felt different. The juice from last season seems small and insignificant compared to the verbal accusations that came from Texas Head Coach Mike White this week. He insinuated impropriety within recruiting on the part of Oklahoma. I wrote that for the first time it seems like the players and coaches are embracing this as a true Red River Rivalry. The Sooners went with Jordy Bahl in the circle to start. The weather may not have had anything to do with that decision but going for the swing and miss seemed to be a good idea pregame as hard as the wind was blowing out to right center field.  The lineup for the Sooners which has looked different nearly every game this season does once again. Erickson with the start at first base and Torres in right field.

The wind was on full display with the first batter of the game where a fly ball that did not sound like solid contact was carried well out beyond the center field fence. An adventurous finish to the first as a walk and HBP for the Horns but w strikeouts and a groundout kept further damage off the board. If there is one person that can get the Sooners fired up it is Jayda Coleman. A fly ball that was in and out of the glove of the center fielder. it scooted away from her and she advanced to second but when the throw came in to second she aggressively took 3rd. She was driven in to tie the game by Jennings who hit a chopping single over the shortstop. The Sooners were seeing the Longhorn starter Estelle Czech pretty well, a lineout from Lee and an infield single from Hansen followed by a bloop single from Lyons to load the bases for Erickson. The Sooners like the Longhorns scored one and threatened but could not punch any more across. 

If one didn’t know any better one would think the Sooner fans were booing Mike White again, instead they were yelling “Boooone” as she made back to back fantastic catches up against the wall in left to end the 2nd. The defensive miscues continue for the Horns in the second. Scored a single but I would have put it as an error by the shortstop. After a pop up by Coleman, Jennings and Lee hit back to back home runs that bounced on the warning track of the second fence in Hall of Fame Stadium. This was the end of the day for Czech as Texas turned to  Sophomore Sophia Simpson. The errors keep piling up for Texas, a single from Lyons was misplayed by the left fielder and sent Lyons to second. Making up for the error Dayton made a nice catch off the bat of Erickson. 

A wild top of the third with a walk to Mia Scott but a ground ball to Lyons and the Sooners tried to turn a double play. Tiare came off the bag a little early but the slide from Scott was outside the bag and too far so both runners were ruled out. Courtney Day popped out to Lyons and ended the inning. The bottom of the 3rd and top of the 4th were equally uneventful for both teams. After a double from Tiare Jennings that was 2 chain links from being a home run she was brought home on a single from Lee. Crushing a home run to left and scoring the pinch runner Hodge was Kinzie Hansen. The Sooners wrapped up the win in game 1 against the Longhorns with a score of 8-1. Pitching was excellent from Jordy Bahl as she only allowed the leadoff solo home run. Her final line was 7 innings, 1 run (earned), 2 hits, 4 BB, and 6 K. The Sooners compiled 12 hits (3 of which were HR). After the game Jordy Bahl said “I thought tonight was a really great team win.”. Coach Patty Gasso added that she thought the defense was phenomenal and “I love our Sooner fans but I didn’t think I could love them any more than I did tonight”.

Game 2: 5-4 (W)

Game 2 brought yet more lineup changes for the Sooners with Sophomore Sophia Nugent in right field. In the circle for the Sooners was Alex Storako. The Longhorns countered with right hander Mac Morgan. Opening the game with back to back strikeouts, a single and another strikeout Storako was fired up early. Leading off and extending her on base streak with a walk was Coleman. The Sooners wasted another opportunity with runners on but had long at bats which usually translates to success later in games. Working from behind the first two hitters, Storako got weak contact but both were placed where there were no Sooners for singles to lead off the 2nd. Getting weak contact again a ground ball to Brito turned into a double play. A really tough hop on a ground ball to Lyons caused enough of a bobble and Maloney reached and the run scored. Making up for it with the next play, Lyons had a diving stop and a glove flip to Jennings at 2nd and ended the inning. Sooners went quietly in order in the bottom of the 2nd. 

Working sharply again Rocko set the Horns down in the 3rd. The first hit of the game for Oklahoma came from Coleman, a one out single up the middle. Nothing doing for the Longhorns since their one run in the 2nd inning. A two out single from Hansen was all the Sooners managed in the bottom of the 4th. A bunt that died on the line to lead off the 5th and another bunt that Storako fielded but threw into right and put runners on first and third with one out. A phenomenal pick by Jennings that turned into a double play and got the crowd going. Unfortunately there was a review and the runner was safe at first which allowed the run to score making it 2-0 Texas. One out line drive by Boone for a single that nearly made it to the wall turned over the lineup and brought up Coleman. She reached on a fielder’s choice back to the pitcher then Jennings laced a single to left. A hard hit ball through the wickets of the 2nd baseman allows Coleman to score and cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately for the Sooners Lyons grounded into a fielders choice and ended the inning. After 2 quick outs Martinez deposited one just over the wall to get the run back for Texas. Sooners showed signs of life in the 6th with a laser to right for a single from Brito. A high fly ball from pinch hitting Torres was caught at the wall for the final out of the 6th. 

Jordy Bahl entered the circle for the Sooners in the 7th. Inducing 3 groundouts including a great play up the middle from Jennings sent the Sooners to their last chance to hit. Leading off Boone smacked a single through the right side and brought up Jayda Coleman who slapped a home run to left and tied the game at 3. That was the end of the day for Morgan as the Longhorns turned to Freshman Citaly Gutierrez to face the heart of the Sooner lineup. A walk to Jennings and a frozen rope to 3rd that went off the face of the 3rd baseman off a hop put 2 on and still no one out for Lyons. With a wild pitch both runners advanced one base. The first out was Jennings caught between home and third on a ground ball from Lyons. Intentionally walking Brito to bring the force into play in walked Kinzie Hansen. After getting down quickly 0-2 Hansen worked a few more pitches and laced one into left field for a walk off single. Oklahoma escaped what would have been their first loss at home to the Longhorns since 2014. Premonition was the word for Hansen after the game “Before Boone got her hit, I knew I was going to get another at bat”. She said she wasn’t sure if it would be in the 7th or 8th but knew the Sooners weren’t finished. It is that kind of drive and belief that makes this team so difficult to defeat. Coach Gasso doesn’t believe that Riley Boone gets the due she is deserved. She does so much but it flies under the radar because it often isn’t as flashy. On Coleman Gasso had this to say “Jayda Coleman is one of the most clutch athletes I’ve ever seen.”. I think you would have a hard time finding someone to disagree with Coach on that one.

Game 3: 10-2 (W) (6)

The finale of a three game series that is at 2-0 is almost entirely for pride. Don’t get swept is the name of the game for Texas. For the Sooners it’s a matter of defending their program against a coach who has made insinuations several times now of cheating allegations. The Sooners sent Nicole May to the circle in the finale looking for the sweep. For the third straight game the Longhorns jump out for an early lead. Mia Scott hit a solo home run to stake the Horns out 1-0. Texas sent Sophia Simpson to the circle. The Sooners have had some success against her dating back to last season. A 4 pitch walk to Jayda and a single up the middle from Tiare have the Sooners a threat early. Lee took a 5 pitch walk to load the bases. Mike White had seen enough from Simpson and brought in Mac Morgan. It was Morgan who kept the Sooners in check until the 7th on Saturday. Being a ground ball pitcher Morgan got the ground ball from Hansen and turned a double play but allowed the run to score. Drawing a walk Lyons put runners on the corners for Brito who smashed one but it was tracked down by Dayton in left. 

Really nice piece of hitting from Sanders as she broke through and hit a one out single. Boone with the walk set up a 3 run home run from Tiare Jennings to right center. That was Jennings 65th home run of her career, tying her for 3rd all time (as a junior). A walk to Lee and a single from Hansen was the end of the day for Morgan. The new pitcher was Citaly Gutierrez who got Lyons to fly out and end the 2nd. Nicole May is back to doing Nicole May things, she had 4 K’s through 3 innings. A chopped ball off the bat of Brito that was a tough play and not made allowed her to reach. Torres smoked a ball at the SS but she couldn’t make the play and it got all the way to the wall and scored Brito for a 5-1 lead for the Sooners. The squeeze play was perfectly executed by Coleman to score Torres advancing to third was Boone after being HBP but was tagged out over sliding. The next hitter was Jennings and she tagged one to the wall easily scoring Coleman for the Sooners 7th run. Absolutely obliterating a 2 run home run to left put the Sooners into run rule territory. 

The leadoff hitter reached on an error from Sanders and was brought home on a one out single from Gilbert making the score 9-2. After a brief lightning delay the game restarted with the top of the 5th. A leadoff double off the wall by Dayton was followed with a strikeout for May. Walking Scott on a full count that was very close, May set the next two down via the K as well stranding the two runners. The Sooners came to bat needing only 1 run to finish off the run rule. First two hitters grounded out but Jennings collected her 4th hit of the day in 4 chances. Adding her 2nd hit of the day Lee singled up the middle putting the game ending run in scoring position. Hansen grounded out to short though and ended the threat, extending the game. A pop up that landed due to miscommunication and a strikeout was the end of the day for May. Enter Jordy Bahl as the Sooners continue to use her as a closer in games she isn’t the starter. The final line for May was 5.1 innings, 6 H, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 BB, and 8 K. Bahl finished off the 6th stranding the runner she inherited. A 2 out single from Torres who was promptly pinch ran for by Hodge put the winning run on base. She was brought home on a single from Cydney Sanders who finally broke through and had a multi hit day. The Sooners put the bow on the sweep with a run rule victory. 

The Sooners do not have a midweek game this week and are at home again next weekend hosting the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. I would imagine they will be well rested but working on some of the miscues that took place over the weekend. If there is one thing this team does, it is respond to adversity or mistakes. Tech is no slouch so do not be surprised to see one or more of the games get interesting but in the end they should be no match for Oklahoma.

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