By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The rematch is set. It will be Oklahoma-Tennessee in the NCAA Super Regional this week after the Sooners finished off Texas A&M 11-6 in the regional final on Sunday. Along with Tennessee’s victory over Lipscomb in its regional final, it means that the seventh-seeded Sooners will host No. 10 Tennessee in a rematch of last year’s championship series.
It was a series that won’t soon be forgotten in Norman, thanks to a memorable three-run comeback in the bottom of the 11th inning and a walk-off home run by Lauren Chamberlain, followed by Michelle Gascoigne throwing a complete game to earn the national title.
It’s also a rematch that wouldn’t have happened if not for an offensive barrage from the Sooners on Sunday to complement Kelsey Stevens’ best game of the regional. The Sooners pounded out 11 hits, while Stevens struck out six and gave up just one walk to earn the complete-game victory after struggling at times through the first two days of the regional.
For the second straight day OU found success with the long ball. After belting out four home runs in a dramatic come-from-behind win over Texas A&M on Saturday, the Sooners (48-10) added three on Sunday, with shots coming from Lauren Chamberlain, Brittany Williams and Georgia Casey. A three-RBI triple from Destinee Martinez helped the Sooners overcome an early 2-0 deficit and the home runs extended the lead after the Aggies (37-22) cut it to 5-4 in the third inning.
The momentum-stealing triple to the left-field wall was Martinez’s latest game-changing play in a string of them. After turning in a 3-for-5 performance with four RBIs on Sunday, Martinez ended the regional batting .666, or 8-for-12.
“One of my jobs is to hit the ball on the ground and move the runners,” Martinez said. “With bases loaded, it’s kind of hard to move runners when it’s on the ground so I was looking for an up pitch, and that’s what I got.”
Chamberlain later added her second home run in two days after missing Friday’s contest with a partially-torn PCL. The junior is playing with a heavy brace but said her knee felt good in Sunday’s win.
While the top of the lineup provided the power, the bottom provided the baserunners. It’s a familiar formula for the Sooners, who used the same approach in last year’s national championship run. On Sunday, the 7-9 batters — Callie Parsons, Erin Miller and Javen Henson — went a combined 5-for-9 and scored five runs.
“If you look down the entire lineup, everybody contributed today,” coach Patty Gasso said. “What more can you ask for? They won’t stop. This started by mid or late March; they really started to figure out who they were and they’ve been on an absolute tear.”
With OU’s 30th win in 32 games, the Sooners are into their fifth straight super regional, and the only thing standing between them and their fourth consecutive trip to the Women’s College World Series is Tennessee, which began the season ranked No. 1 but fell to the 10th seed in the tournament.
“Tennessee is always going to be a name that is going to live in our history,” Gasso said. “They have expectations that they should; they return their pitcher and SEC Player of the Year in [Madison] Shipman. They’re a strong team, well-coached and have the experience that we have. It’s going to be a great super regional.”
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