Patty Gasso was not a fan of where her #10 Oklahoma Sooners (56-9) ended up season after finishing as the regular and postseason champions of the Big 12.
The detractors looked right at this point last week as OU was fighting back from the loser’s bracket, dropping the first game to Tulsa 3-2 in 9 innings. Only 7 of 415 teams since 2005 had gone on to win the regional from the same position.
Never tell these girls the odds.
After grinding it out with Tulsa to win the regional they found a familiar opponent in #7 Auburn. The Sooners defeated the Tigers in 2-1 in three games last year to win the national championship.
The teams would meet again in the season opener in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Auburn walked away a 3-2 winner as Oklahoma struggled at the plate.
Paige Parker showed she had shaken off anything from last week’s regional and continued her successful 10 strikeout outing vs Tulsa with 14 against Auburn in game one.
The 3-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year finished the game and OU would win behind the bats of her sophomore underclassmen. Oklahoma would score four runs late to run away 4-0.
Game two OU started Maria Lopez who made it through 2 1/3 innings before being replaced by Lowary. Lopez gave up 2 hits and 1 run, earned, while in the circle. OU led 3-1 when former Mizzou ace Paige Lowary (15-2) entered in relief and earned the win.
It was the second inning when Oklahoma started sooner than later getting their bats warm.
In the bottom of the second a Nicole Pendley homer sent herself, Aviu, and Romero home. Oklahoma 3-0.
The bottom of the 6th Oklahoma extended it’s 3-2 lead by two runs after Knighten scored from third on a single from Pendley, 4-2 Sooners.
Pinch runner Raegan Roberts was on second and moved to third. That’s where she took advantage of a misplayed attempt to pick off Pendley at second. It would seal the game at 5-2.
Oklahoma played its way through the losers bracket, against a familiar foe, and against one the committee was sure was better than them. On the road in SEC country the Sooners won and earned their way back home.
This is the program’s 11th trip to the Women’s College Series in Oklahoma City. They look to defend their national title and win back to back for the first time in program history.
They will face a familiar foe in either #2 Arizona or #15 Baylor.