Oklahoma softball: Takeaways from Sooners' Big 12 Championship win over No. 1 Texas


Sweet revenge! The underdog -- yes, underdog -- No. 4-ranked Oklahoma softball team defeated top-ranked Texas in convincing fashion on Saturday to win the Big 12 Softball Championship.

The Sooners (49-6) not only got their wish for a rematch with Texas in the Big 12 Softball Championship but got the revenge they were seeking in the rematch after losing two of three to the Longhorns in the regular-season series, The series loss to Texas was the first by an Oklahoma softball team since 2011.

In a preview of the championship game matchup, I wrote that the deciding factor in a contest like this featuring the two best hitting teams in the country would be the team with the best pitching performance. On this particular day, it was Oklahoma that dominated in the circle.

Kelly Maxwell, who pitched the Sooners to a 5-2 win against Texas earlier in the season, started the championship game and was sensational against the high-powered Longhorn lineup, working 5.1 innings and allowing just one run on two hits, striking out seven and walking two. Veteran Nicole May relieved Maxwell with one out in the sixth and recorded the five outs, three on strikeouts.

Texas starter Citaly Gutierrez was equally stellar, striking out a career-best 10 Sooners, but she wasn't able to get the necessary support from her defense and the normally productive Longhorn offense. limited to just two hits and six base runners the entire game.

As the visiting team in this year's Big 12 Championship final, OU scored first, producing two runs in the top of the first on a single, double, fielding error and fielder's choice to take a quick 2-0 lead. Texas scored its only run in the game with a two-out walk followed by a triple. The Longhorns only other hit came on a leading single in the third inning. That represented the Texas offense for the game.

Six different Sooners had hits in the game, with freshman Ella Parker leading the way with a pair of hits in four plate appearances.

Oklahoma now awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday evening (on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT) to see where they will be seeded and who they will play in the NCAA Regional beginning next Friday.

The Sooners should be home for both the regionals and super regionals, and if they advance out of both will then head back to OGE Energy Field at Devon Park in Oklahoma City for their eighth consecutive WCWS appearance.

Takeaways from OU's ninth and final Big 12 Tournament championship

  • Tiare Jennings' double off the wall in right-center field that scored Oklahoma's first run in the Big 12 Championship final on Saturday was her 300th career hit. With that hit, the Sooner senior became the fourth player in OU softball history to reach 300 collegiate hits. The others are Jocelyn Alo (343), Norrelle Dickson (328) and Sydney Romero (320).
  • It has been 1,803 days since a team not named Oklahoma has won the Women's College World Series. The Sooners enter the 2024 postseason in quest of an unprecedented fourth national championship with a senior class that has won the previous three WCWS titles.
  • Southpaw Kelly Maxwell, who has faced Texas many times over her five collegiate seasons (the previous four at Oklahoma State), threw 47 of her 80 total pitches on Saturday for strikes. She induced 12 swinging strikes.
  • OU freshman Ella Parker was two for four against Texas on Saturday and was 7 for 10 in the three games of the Big 12 Championship with five RBI, six runs scored and a towering home run in the 13-2 win over BYU.

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  • Oklahoma placed five players on the All-Tournament team, including Most Outstanding Player Ella Parker. Joining her on the team were Alyssa Britto, Kinzie Hansen and pitchers Kelly Maxwell and Kierston Deal.