Recognizing that they had a share of the Big 12 championship no matter what happened, the Oklahoma Sooners went out and finished the job on Saturday with a hard-earned 5-4 win over Bedlam Series rival Oklahoma State, which handed them the title outright. The win was made even more satisfying because it came over OU’s in-state rivals and on the Cowgirls home diamond.
The Lady Sooners had only five hits for the entire game, and five of them came in a five-run second-inning explosion to get Oklahoma off to an early lead. Oklahoma State stormed back in the home half of the fifth inning, scoring four times to cut the Sooners’ lead down to a single run.
Behind a solid pitching performance by OU sophomore Kelsey Stevens, however, the Lady Sooners held off Oklahoma State the rest of the way to clinch their third consecutive Big 12 softball crown. The country’s 10th-ranked team this week, Oklahoma will take home the Bedlam Cup for the 11th time in 13 seasons by winning the season series with rival Oklahoma State. OU won an earlier game this season over the Cowgirls by a 2-0 score.
The Bedlam Cup has never left Norman since it was first presented in 2001. The Lady Sooners retained the cup in 2003 and 2010 as a result of a series split.
Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, Oklahoma has done no worse than a split of the regular-season series with Oklahoma State in softball in 16 of 19 seasons.
Oklahoma sophomore pitcher Stevens earned her 32nd victory of the season in 41 starts, with a complete-game performance that included eight strikeouts. With the win, Stevens tied Keilani Ricketts (2010) and Kami Keitner for ninth most in a single season in OU program history.
Sooners’ shortstop Georgia Casey had what turned out to be the game-winning hit with a bases-loaded two-run double in the top of the second inning that drove home OU’s fourth and fifth runs of the game.
Coming into the regular-season-ending series with Oklahoma State, the Lady Sooners held a two-game lead over second-place Baylor. The win over the Cowgirls gives Oklahoma a two-and-a-half-game advantage over the Lady Bears with just one game to go and also was OU’s sixth conference win on the road against just one loss.