Bedlam Softball Win Gives OU Outright Big 12 Title

Clinching a share of the Big 12 title last weekend against Texas Tech wasn’t quite good enough for head coach Patty Gasso and the No. 13/10 Sooners.

“There are no celebrations going on because this team doesn’t want to share anything,” she said after the team swept the Red Raiders. “When they get that next one is when you’ll feel it a little bit more.”

The Sooners (44-10, 15-2) made sure they had the conference championship to themselves Saturday, winning the title outright after a 5-4 win at Oklahoma State (26-27, 5-12). It’s the seventh regular season title in program history. Coupled with four Big 12 Tournament championships and the Sooners’ 11 overall conference titles are the most in league history.

In addition, the Sooners captured the Bedlam Cup for the 11th time in the 13 years since the official start of the Bedlam Series in 2001. The trophy has never left Norman as OU also retained it in 2003 and 2010.

Since the Big 12’s inception, OU has done no worse than a split against OSU in the regular season series and claimed in-state bragging rights in 16 of the 19 seasons. Previously this year, the Sooners earned a 2-0 win over the Cowgirls on April 2.

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Oklahoma improved to 78-70 all-time in the series with Oklahoma State and has won the past eight meetings between the teams. The 78 wins and 148 matchups are the most for OU against any other opponent.

The victory pushed Oklahoma’s winning streak to 11 games. Thanks to an earlier 14-game streak, OU has won 26 of their past 28 games since being swept in a doubleheader at Louisiana-Lafayette on March 15. In fact, the .929 winning percentage since March 15 is tied with the Ragin’ Cajuns for the best in the country over that span.

Sophomore Whitney Ellis helped set the tone for the Sooners early in the game.

In the bottom of the first, Shelby Davis walked and then tried to steal second for Oklahoma State. Davis entered the game 41-45 on her attempts, but Ellis threw her out easily. Ellis has now thrown out 13 of 21 would-be base stealers this year.

After utilizing her arm, Ellis started Oklahoma’s five-run second inning with a single through the left side. Senior Destinee Martinez then put down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw from OSU third baseman Tiffany Mikkelson was errant to put runners on the corners.

Fellow senior Javen Henson followed and placed a perfect squeeze bunt down between third base, the pitching circle and home plate. All runners were safe, including Ellis, who scored the game’s opening run.

Junior Callie Parsons loaded the bases as she singled through the legs of Cowgirls starting pitcher Simone Freeman. That brought sophomore Paris Townsend, who entered the game in the bottom of the first as a defensive replacement, to the plate. She worked the count full before dropping a run-scoring single into left field to push the lead to 2-0.

A four-pitch walk to senior Brittany Williams made it 3-0 before junior Georgia Casey lined a double off the wall in left field to plate two more runs.

After two scoreless innings, Oklahoma State cut into the Sooners’ lead in the fifth by scoring four off of OU starter Kelsey Stevens.

Gessenia DeLaCruz was hit by a pitch, while Shannon Kaufman and Davis followed with infield singles to load the bases with none out. Ari Morrison got the Cowgirls on the board as she doubled to left field to make it 5-2.

A wild pitch from Stevens enabled Davis to score, trimming the lead to 5-3. Mikkelson then tried to atone for her earlier error when she pulled a double down the left field line, scoring OSU’s fourth run of the game.

Oklahoma State would get no closer, however.

After setting the Cowgirls down in order in the sixth, Stevens got two quick outs in the seventh. Danielle Riddle drew a two-out walk to put the tying run on base and bringing the potential winning run to the plate in Freeman. After falling behind 3-0, Stevens came back with a called strike and then got Freeman to fly out to Townsend in left field for the final out.

Stevens struck out eight and walked three. She allowed four runs on seven hits as her record improved to 32-7 on the year. Her win total sits second in the country behind only the 33 of Florida State’s Lacey Waldrop.

The two teams close out the regular season Sunday back in Norman. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

/// SoonerSports PR

W - Stevens (32-7)7.074438
L - Freeman (21-16)7.055445
S - None------------
Individual Leaders
OU - Casey301200
OSU - Morrison412200
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