By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — All it took was one inning for Oklahoma’s 10-game winning streak to come to a crashing halt.
In top-ranked OU’s first game of a doubleheader against No. 11 Louisville, the Cardinals took advantage of several Sooner mistakes to score five runs in the fourth inning. Several Sooner baserunning mistakes left OU scoreless and a hit batter and some timely hitting later, Louisville led 5-0.
That was more than enough, as pitcher Caralisa Connell took a shutout into the final inning before Keilani Ricketts lifted a solo home run to provide the Sooners’ only run in the 5-1 loss.
That sent the teams into the nightcap, and the loss only served to fire up the Sooners, who came out hot in the second game of the day. Behind a six-run fifth inning and three RBIs, OU run-ruled Louisville 9-1 to earn a split in the first two games of a three-game series, with the rubber match coming at noon today.
“In between games we talked about having a short memory and coming back out and playing Sooner softball,” said pitcher Michelle Gascoigne, who allowed just one run to earn the win in the second game. “I was out there trusting my defense and really using them today, and they made some really good plays.”
The Sooners (28-2) also made a number of good plays at the plate in the win. After the Cardinals (26-5) cut the lead to 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Sooners exploded at the plate. A pair of walks started off the inning, and Brittany Williams and Destinee Martinez brought in runs with RBI hits.
That set the stage for a pair of marathon at-bats for Jessica Vest and Briana Turang. Vest fell behind in the count 0-2 but worked it back with good bat control, fouling off several balls in a row, to eventually walk and load the bases.
That brought up Turang, who also took the count to full before fouling off two balls on the corner of the plate. That allowed her to find a pitch she liked and send it down the left field line into the corner of the field, bringing in the three runs the Sooners needed to complete the run-rule.
“You saw the difference between the first and second game in those last two at-bats,” coach Patty Gasso said. “We came out not completely ready to play in the first game, and Louisville is a good team and took advantage of that. But we had that fight we needed in the second game, and you saw it in the way they handled themselves at the plate. What I’m taking away from today is the way we responded in that second game.”
Next up for OU is the series decider today at Marita Hynes Field.
“I think that game gives us a lot of momentum for tomorrow,” Gascoigne said after the OU win. “We want to win the series and play Sooner softball tomorrow.”
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