The top two teams in Big 12 softball this season need just one more win apiece to be on their way to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series.
The Big 12 champions, the Oklahoma Lady Sooners, received a brilliant pitching performance from sophomore Kelsey Stevens, who tamed the potent Tennessee offense to just one run on seven hits. leading OU to an 8-1 home win in game one of its Super Regional. Ironically, this Super Regional is a rematch of the championship series in last season’s Women’s College World Series, won by the Sooners to claim the national championship.
The Sooners scored a run in four of the first five innings, and added four more in the home half of the sixth to seal away the victory.
“We’ve been waiting to see that loose, competitive spirit back on the mound,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said after the game. “I think she just got locked in.” The performance represented a nice comeback for Stevens, who got roughed up a week ago in the Sooners come-from-behind regional victory over Texas A&M.
The Baylor Lady Bears, the Big 12 runner-up this season, are on the verge of some deja vu of their own. The last time the Bears played Georgia on its home field was in the 2011 Super Regionals. Baylor won that series and moved on to the College World Series. The Lady Bears are just a win away from reliving that experience, courtesy of a 9-1 thumping they put on the Lady Bulldogs on Friday night.
Baylor third baseman Sarah Smith keyed a four-run first inning with a three-run round-tripper, and the Bears never looked back. Smith’s home run was her seventh of the season and her second in the postseason. It also was Baylor’s 69th home run of the season, breaking a school record for a singe season.
A victory by seventh-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday will send the Sooners to the Women’s College World Series in nearby Oklahoma City for the ninth time in their history and the fourth year in a row.