If you watched the ESPN broadcast of Oklahoma's game against Arkansas on Saturday, you might have been confused with the final 10-5 score and the fact OU was victorious. The ESPN announce team, who have been brutally bad through the first two Oklahoma games, seemed confused as to either who was actually winning or who is the consensus No. 1 team in the country. So much so that as they signed off they proclaimed the team that had just lost 10-5, to the aforementioned No. 1 team in the country, a "force to be reckoned with."
Yes, that's right ladies. The team that lost, and isn't No. 1, and isn't hosting this regional is a "force to be reckoned with." Good call, idiots.
Moving on to the actual game, despite the stupidity of the announcers Arkansas did test Oklahoma in this one getting as close as one after a four run sixth inning that made it a 6-5 game. However, the Sooners would answer with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning and pretty much seal things. Three of those four runs would come off the bat of Lauren Chamberlain who drilled a bases loaded double over the center fielder's head to clear the bases. Chamberlain finished the game 2-for-3 with two walks, five RBI, and two runs which helped her break the school and Big 12 single season record for runs scored.
Prior to that sixth inning, OU starter Keilani Ricketts had been cruising through the Arkansas lineup but seemed to get a little rattled. It was hard not to remember last year's championship series where she suffered a somewhat similar fate against Alabama. However one of the biggest differences in this year's team compared to last year is the confidence they have in Michelle Gascoigne. Oklahoma's 1A starter has come on in relief of Ricketts in big spots a number of times this year and did so again in the sixth with two on and two outs. Gascoigne promptly struck out the first batter she faced and put an end to the Razorback rally.
Other solid performances for Oklahoma in this game included Brittany Williams who went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBI.
To be honest, a little adversity for this loaded OU team wasn't necessarily a bad thing. We saw how they responded to it last year against Alabama and none of us want a repeat of that. So this test today and their immediate response to it will be something Patty Gasso can point to as they move forward towards their goal of a return trip to Oklahoma City.
With the win, Oklahoma advances to tomorrow's regional final which is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CST). Their opponent for that game will be determined later today as Arkansas, Marist, and Fordham battle it out for the "privilege" to play the Sooners on Sunday.