Oklahoma softball now shares Big 12 lead, surrenders 6-3 loss to Oklahoma State

Oklahoma outfielder Rylie Boone (0) catches the ball for an out in the sixth inning of a Bedlam
Oklahoma outfielder Rylie Boone (0) catches the ball for an out in the sixth inning of a Bedlam / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

There was little love circulating around Oklahoma softball's Love's Field on Friday night unless you were wearing orange.

No. 2 Oklahoma, in need of a series sweep to guarantee an outright Big 12 championship squandered a 2-0 lead in the first inning and suffered a stunning 6-3 loss to No. 4 Oklahoma State at home in the opening game of the three-game set that will determine the Big 12 regular-season champion.

The Sooners' normally high-powered offense managed just three hits for the night, and two of those came in the sixth inning. After an erratic start by Oklahoma State pitcher Kyra Aycock, Lexi Kilfoyl, one of the best pitchers in the Big 12 if not the country, took over in relief and, from the fourth inning on completely shutdown the best hitting team in the country.

OU (45-5, 21-4) had an opportunity to blow the game wide open in the home half of the first inning. OSU starter Aycock walked four of the first four batters she faced and walked in the first Sooner run of the game. With the bases loaded and just one out, Oklahoma was able to score just one more time in the inning to take a 2-0 lead.

A two-run double by Oklahoma State's Karli Godwin after a two-out, eight-pitch at bat in the top of the third tied the score at two.

Oklahoma State took a one-run lead in the fourth on a solo home run off Oklahoma starter Kelly Maxwell and then blasted solo round-trippers in the same inning off of Kierston Deal, who entered the game in the fifth inning in relief of Maxwell. At that point, the Sooners trailed 6-2, and it was like all the wind had been sucked out of the three-time defending national champions as well as the highly partisan Sooner crowd.

The highlights & lowlights of yet another troubling Sooner performance

  • Too much Kilfoyl. When the Sooners couldn't capitalize on the wildness of Oklahoma State starter Kyra Aycock, OSU head coach Kenny Gajewski wisely brought in Lexi Kilfoyl, who many thought would start this game, in relief to start the fourth inning with the Cowgirls holding on to a one-run lead. Aycock had allowed just one hit but had walked six batters over the first three innings. Kilfoyl. as she has done so often in her 19 wins this season, slammed the door shut on the Sooner offense, allowing just one run on two hits and four Oklahoma base runners the rest of the way.
  • A taste of your own medicine. Coming into Game 1 of the 2024 Bedlam series, Oklahoma led the league and ranked third in the country with 95 home runs, 21 more than Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls cleared the fences three times on Friday night, holding the Sooners homerless.
  • Lackluster OU pitching performance. Oklahoma starter Kelly Maxwell was not her usual self in the circle in the opening game of the series. Was it the emotion and anxiety of facing her former team of the past four years. Who knows? But the veteran right-hander was not as sharp as she typically is, allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits, striking out three and walking two in 4.0 innings. Big 12 Pitcher of the week Kierston Deal didn't fare much better, giving up three runs on three hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
  • Good batter's eye, but not hitting them where they ain't. The Sooners were very patient at the plate, drawing eight walks in Friday's game, but when they do put the bats on the ball, they're not getting the timely hits they normally do. Credit the Oklahoma State pitching, namely Lexi Kilfoyl, one of the best in the country. OU's three hits was their second fewest in 50 games this season. The other was a two-hit performance a week ago at UCF, but the Sooners won that game, 2-1.
  • Bad news. Good news: Oklahoma is now tied for the Big 12 lead with Texas with two games left to play in the regular season. Oklahoma State is just one game back. The good news is the Sooners get two more shots at their in-state rival with afternoon games at home on Saturday and Sunday.