Like clockwork, the top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners took care of business against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday by a final score of 4-0. With the win, OU improved to 51-2 on the season, extended its overall winning streak to 41 games and advanced to Sunday’s Norman Regional final.
After the game, Patty Gasso spoke about the team’s demeanor in the locker room. The Sooners haven’t played in many gutsy, grinding type of games this season, so needless to say today’s result was quite unexpected.
“It’s a win”, Gasso said, “but in the locker room, our team had a mentality almost like they lost. Not to take anything away from Wisconsin’s pitching staff because they were tremendous as well, but a good team finds ways to win when things aren’t exactly the way they want them to be, and that’s what they did today.”
Giselle ‘G’ Juarez received the start in the circle once again for the Sooners, and after leading Oklahoma’s pitching staff to a combined perfect game on Friday, the 2019 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year threw a no-hitter on Saturday. She also registered a season-high 16 strikeouts on the outing.
NO-HITTER!— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) May 18, 2019
After combining on the perfect game yesterday, @ggotgame45 records her third no-hitter of the season while registering a season-high 16 strikeouts!#ChampionshipMindset pic.twitter.com/aBLLXRmbKc
In the top of the first, Sydney Romero singled through left and advanced to second following a Fale Aviu sac bunt. Caleigh Clifton later singled to put runners on the corners, and a throwing error by the Wisconsin catcher led to an unearned run, giving the Sooners a quick 1-0 lead going forward.
It looked like there would be some fireworks in the top of the fourth as Oklahoma loaded up the bases with just one out. After a puzzling defensive collapse by Wisconsin, the Badgers were able to escape the frame without taking any damage on the scoreboard.
One of the oddest sequences I've seen. Although, OU not adding runs from this might be stranger. pic.twitter.com/s7nXPipc0j— Joe Buettner (@ByJoeBuettner) May 18, 2019
In the fifth, Clifton singled up the middle before stealing second just moments later. Grace Green then drilled one through shallow right to send CC home and extend Oklahoma’s lead to 2-0.
The Sooners showed a glimpse of their dominant selves in the seventh and final inning. After a pair of singles from Grace Lyons and Romero, a Wisconsin double play caught Romero slipping away from first. Clifton then stepped up to the plate and crushed a pitch over the left center wall, doubling Oklahoma’s advantage to 4-0. Ultimately, this proved to be the final margin of the contest.
Gasso was impressed by Clifton in this game, and spoke about the senior’s growth since she first became a Sooner.
“(Clifton’s) so strong right now. I think of her as a freshman, she was just a skinny little thing with a deer-in-the-headlights kind of look, and now to me, she’s the best second baseman all-around in the country. I’d put her up against anybody.”
Up next, Oklahoma will take on whichever team makes it through the losers’ bracket of the Norman Regional. As of this moment, a potential rematch versus UMBC or Wisconsin is possible, as well as a meeting against Notre Dame. In any case, the Sooners are obviously in the best position to make it through to the Super Regional round as they only need one more win to advance.
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