The Oklahoma Sooners defeated Baylor 6-4 in the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game to capture the program’s sixth conference tournament title. Today’s win was also the sixth straight over the Lady Bears, extending the Sooners’ streak of wins against conference opponents to a whopping 32 straight games.
Lefty Paige Lowary got the start in the circle for the Sooners. The senior started strong before things became dicey late. On the day, Lowary pitched all seven innings, recording three strikeouts.
Senior Nicole Pendley had herself a day with an outstanding showing at the plate, going two for three and recording five RBIs. On her first at-bat, Pendley sent a pitch to the fence for a 2-run double, then followed that up with this three-run dinger in the third:
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, freshman sensation Jocelyn Alo reached first base after a walk given up by Baylor pitcher Gia Rodoni. Shay Knighten followed that up after a ground ball lead to a Baylor error. Pendley made the two runners on base count with a bomb to the fence for a two-RBI double. The Sooner bats would retire shortly after that, taking a 2-0 lead after one.
In the top of the third, Baylor’s Taylor Ellis hit one to left field for the lead-off single, then reached second after a Jessie Scroggins groundout. Ellis would eventually make it all the way home after Shelby Friudenberg singled out to left field, cutting the Lady Bears’ 2-0 deficit in half.
The Sooners would answer Baylor’s third inning quickly. In the bottom of the frame, Alo reached first once again on a walk, then Knighten would single through the left side. Pendley would make those runners count once again, this time by sending the ball out of ASA Hall of Fame Stadium for a three-run homer, extending the Sooners’ lead to 5-1.
In the top of the sixth, Baylor’s Scroggins got things started with a lead-off single. Kyla Walker would follow her up after smashing a Lowary pitch over the top of the Sooner defense for an RBI-triple. Goose McGlaun would then reach on a fielder’s choice, sending Walker home for the second Baylor run in the inning. The Lady Bears would eventually add a third run in the inning before it was all said and done, trimming the Sooners’ lead to 5-4.
The Sooners needed some insurance scoring heading into the bottom of the sixth, and that’s exactly what they got. Eliyah Flores got things started with a single down the right field line, then Flores advanced to second on a Kelsey Arnold groundout. Pinch-hitter Kylie Lundberg walked to get two Sooners on base before Sydney Romero singled to right field. Romero’s single sent Flores home, extending Oklahoma’s lead to the final margin of 6-4.
Up next, the Oklahoma Sooners await their tournament seeding fate, which will be announced tomorrow night during the NCAA Softball Selection Show. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN2, and it’ll be then when the Sooners not only learn their overall seed, but also which teams they will be grouped with in the NCAA Regional round. The expectation is that Oklahoma should have enough on its resume to host both the regionals and the super regionals, should the Sooners advance.
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