Oklahoma softball offense explodes late to salvage Game 3 in Bedlam series


In what looked like a repeat of Saturday's game, only in reverse, the Oklahoma softball offense unloaded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open a tight game and defeat in-state rival Oklahoma State 8-2 on Sunday in the final game of the weekend series.

After Oklahoma State had scored twice in the top half of the sixth to erase a 2-0 OU lead, the Sooners unleashed their power game in the bottom half the inning as freshman Ella Parker cranked a three-run long ball deep over the center field fence, and Tiare Jennings blasted a solo shot over the left field wall as an encore,

Almost identical to what the Cowgirls did in the sixth inning in Game 2 on Saturday, Oklahoma broke open a close game late and turned it into multi-run victory. Two innings before that, the Sooners took a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by another Sooner freshman, Kasidi Pickering, her sixth of the season.

OU head coach Patty Gasso took a bit of a chance starting Liberty transfer Karlie Keaney, who had appeared previously mostly in late-inning clean-up roles.

Keaney, however, surprised any critics there were. pitching a solid 6.2 innings and allowing no runs on four hits in picking up her fifth win of the season against just one loss. Sophomore Kiersten Deal entered the game in relief of Keaney to begin the sixth, but allowed both Oklahoma State runs on three hits before Keaney reentered the game in relief to get the final two outs in the inning.

The Oklahoma home runs in the fourth and sixth innings were their first of the series. Oklahoma State, on the other hand hit seven in the first two games.

Oklahoma State started Ivy Rosenberry in the circle, the Game 2 starter who stymied the OU hitters, allowing just one run on three hits in 4.0 innings. Rosenberry was solid through the first four innings, but surrendered the home run to Pickering in the fifth and was removed by Game 1 starter Kyra Aycock with two on and two out in the inning.

Parker and fifth-year senior Rylie Boone both had three hits for the Sooners, who collected 13 hits on Sunday off of two Oklahoma State pitcher. Oklahoma had just eight combined hits off of OSU pitching in the first two games of the series.

With the win, the Sooners (46-5, 22-5) finished in second place in the Big 12 standings and earned the No. 2 seed in the coming week's Big 12 Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma will play the winner of Wednesday's opening round game between No. 7 Kansas and No. 10 Houston. The Sooners swept the regular-season series with both teams.

As the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Big 12 Tournament, the Sooners and Cowgirls could meet again in the semifinal round on Friday.