While the players and/or coaches would never admit it, beating Texas in any sport is a heck of a way to spend an afternoon for every person on the planet who considers themselves an OU fan. So for that, Sooner Nation owes this Oklahoma softball team a debt of gratitude for the 10-2 run rule victory we were given on Saturday.
For the second consecutive game, the Sooners fell behind early only to immediately answer the following half inning. Texas took a two run lead in the top half of the third inning after pairing a couple singles and three walks. At the time, Keilani Ricketts was struggling and head coach Patty Gasso even went so far as to have Michelle Gascoigne warming up just in case.
Then it was Oklahoma's turn.
The Sooners answered with six runs of their own in the bottom of the third and took a lead that was never again in jeopardy. The first run coming on a Ricketts RBI double before OU would load the bases with zero outs. Over this same time span, Texas made the unusual decision to pull their senior ace Blair Luna after less than three innings. What this did was put an inexperienced Texas pitcher into a bases loaded situation in arguably the biggest spot of Texas' season. It was a decision that did not pay off. Callie Parsons came through with a clutch two out single and scored two and then something crazy happened.
Brianna Turang came to the plate with two on and two out. She squared to bunt and got it down for what looked like the possible third out of the inning. However the Texas pitcher fielded the ball and threw it past the first basemen. The UT right fielder also misplayed the ball which then rolled all the way to the outfield wall. Well, if you know anything about Turang you know what was going to happen next. She turned a simple bunt and possible out into what amounted to a defacto inside the park home run, obviously courtesy of the error.
Oklahoma would add three more in the fourth inning to make it a 9-2 game. A Brittany Williams sacrifice fly brought home the first, then a Jessica Shults single up the middle brought home the second, and finally another Parsons RBI would end the scoring in the fourth.
Heading into the fifth, the Sooners needed just one more score to put the run rule into effect and the end the game. Lauren Chamberlain lead off the inning with what should have been a harmless fly to right, but the Longhorn right fielder lost the ball in the sun and Chamberlain found herself on third base. At that point it was inevitable the end was near. So near in fact that the very next batter, Georgia Casey, would deliver the knockout blow with a single to right bringing Chamberlain home and ending the ball game.
With the win, Oklahoma is now in a commanding position on their side of the bracket. Whoever they play in their next game (we'll get to that) would have to beat them twice to advance and eliminate the Sooners. At this point we do not know who that team will be, but we know who the three possibilities are. Oklahoma's opponent will either be Washington, Michigan, or Arizona State. The Huskies lost earlier today to Tennessee and UM/ASU will play later tonight with the winner advancing to face UW tomorrow.
No matter who it is, Oklahoma will play at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night on ESPN2.