Sunday, May 24, 2015

OU Softball: Season Ends at Super Regional

Photo Credit: Michael Wade

The Oklahoma softball team’s season came to an end Saturday night as the 11th-ranked Sooners (49-9) dropped a 5-3 decision at No. 6 Alabama (47-13) in the third and final game of the Alabama Super Regional.

The Sooners looked to be in control thanks to a pair of home runs by senior Lauren Chamberlain, but Marisa Runyon’s grand slam in the bottom of the sixth proved the difference as the Sooners’ run of Women’s College World Series appearances ended at four with the season-ending loss.

"Whether we win or lose, we give the glory to God and follow the path," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. "We gave everything we had and I'm so proud of this team. When we saw Alabama pop up on the screen (during the selection show), we knew that all we could ask is that we fight, fight, fight and these guys did that.

"We're blessed to have the opportunity and we thank everybody here who was so hospitable and helped us feel comfortable and appreciated while we were here. That's all I can ask from this team - they gave all they had and more. I could not be more proud of their efforts."

The first two games had largely been dominated by pitchers Paige Parker and Alexis Osorio. The first three innings in game three were no different, but Alabama cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth.

With one out, Haylie McCleney doubled down the right field line. With the free base open, Jadyn Spencer, who hit the decisive home run in game two, was intentionally walked. Chaunsey Bell then came through for the Crimson Tide as she dropped a single into center field, driving in McCleney from second.

Oklahoma had answer though, turning to the greatest home run hitter the sport has ever seen.

Like she did in game one, senior Callie Parsons got the Sooners’ rally started. On a 2-2 pitch, she hit a chopper to short that was misplayed into an error by Danae Hays. With the tying run aboard, Chamberlain stepped to the plate. She worked into a hitter’s count of 2-1 before roping a homer over the fence in left field.

The Sooners had a chance to add to their lead later in the inning by loading the bases with one out, but couldn’t tack on any more runs as a foul out and ground out kept the lead at 2-1.

Chamberlain was at it again in the sixth.

Batting with a 2-2 count and two outs, Chamberlain drilled a homer to left field to put the Sooners ahead 3-1. It was the 95th and final home run of her illustrious career. Game three also marked the 17th multi-homer game of Chamberlain’s career, doing so in the postseason for the third time.

In addition to a record 95 home runs, Chamberlain broke Stacey Nuveman's career slugging percentage rrecord of .945 with a career mark of .960.

Alabama had the final answer, though.

With one out, Jadyn Spencer singled through the left side. After a walk by Bell, senior Georgia Casey caught a liner at second for the second out. Danae Hays was then hit by a pitch to fill the bases, bringing Marisa Runyon to the plate.

The scenario was a replay from the ending of game one when Parker fanned Runyon swinging with the bases full and the Sooners leading 5-2. Game three would have a different ending though as Runyon ripped the first pitch she saw to right field for a go-ahead grand slam.

Parker ended up suffering the loss for the Sooners, despite being a workhorse in the circle. She threw all 20 innings during the Super Regional, throwing 316 pitches in all. She finished a remarkable freshman season by posting a 28-7 record.

It was the final game in the career of Chamberlain, Casey, Parsons and fellow seniors Shelby Pendley and Jessica Vest. The five players ended their careers with an unprecedented four Big 12 championships, three trips to the Women’s College World Series, a cumulative record of 211-36 (.854) and one national championship.

Inning-by-Inning
Team1234567RHE
OU0000210350
ALA0001040562
Pitching
IPHRERBBSO
W - Osorio (21-8)7.042153
L - Parker (28-7)6.065523
S - N/A------
Individual Leaders
ABRHRBIBBHR
OU - Chamberlain322312
ALA - Runyon211401

/// SoonerSports PR

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