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Erin Miller Sends OU Softball To The Regional Finals With Walk-Off Blast

Rich DeCray

Texas A&M freshman Tori Vidales sent the first pitch of the game over the left-field fence and made a statement for the Aggies. Oklahoma's freshman pitcher Paige Parker would need to be on top of her game, otherwise A&M was going to knock her around. That's exactly what the Aggies did through the first three innings of the game where Vidales was joined by Breanna Dozier and Kristen Cuyos in leaving the park. A&M would score five runs in the first three frames boosted by Vidales going three-for-three with 3 RBI during that time. "I knew I was seeing the ball well yesterday and I wanted to carry that into today," Vidales said.

Oklahoma made their own statement as well though. The Sooners posted two runs in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the second to let the Aggies know they weren't going away quietly. With the support of the home crowd behind her, Parker settled to keep A&M off the board through the final four frames of the game as OU would chip away at the Aggies' lead.

Senior Georgia Casey belted her third home run of the year in the bottom of the sixth to Oklahoma to within a run at 5-4. After sitting A&M down in order in the top of the seventh freshman Nicole Pendley got the OU rally going by drawing a lead-off walk. Two batters later Shelby Pendley sent the ball through the second base gap and into center field. An overthrow on the play would end up scoring Nicole and tying the game at 5-5.

After Parker struck out for Oklahoma's second out of the inning Erin Miller approached the plate looking for her first hit on the day. She sent a fastball from Aggies' relief pitcher Katie Marks just inside the foul pole in right field for the game clincher. "I knew it was gone when it left the bat," Parker said. "I was just hoping it would stay fair." Oklahoma's head coach Patty Gasso said that she could feel the momentum shifting in Oklahoma's favor. "We had the tying run on first with Lauren, Shelby, and Erin coming up," she said, "I just folded my play-card up and put it in my pocket."

Parker's walk-off home run sends Oklahoma into Sunday's regional championship game where they'll face whoever survives on Saturday. Central Arkansas will play Lehigh in the second game on Saturday in an elimination game with the winner set to play A&M in the day's second elimination game. In order for Oklahoma not to advance they would need to lose twice on Sunday to whichever team survives elimination. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 on Sunday afternoon.