OU softball sweeps Texas in WCWS finals, winning fourth straight NCAA title

OU’s exciting senior class is leaving on a high note.

One of the Sooners’ juniors came up with the biggest play of the game, as Sidney Sanders hit a triple-double in the fourth and then OU hung on from there as the Sooners won their fourth straight Women’s College World Series title with an 8-4 win over Texas on Thursday at Devon Park.

The Sooners finished the season 59-7. Over the past four seasons, OU is 235-15.

“The thing about them is they’re resilient,” Sooners coach Patty Gasso said. “They have a lot of pride in that. It’s hard for me to understand that. I keep saying that was the hardest thing to manage. We lost a lot in the summer. The players through the portal have brought in some great players.” “.

A little more than a month ago, it seemed like the Sooners were a long way from being a championship-caliber team.

OU lost the first two games of the Bedlam series as it finished second in the Big 12 for the first time in more than a decade.

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But an 8-2 win over Oklahoma State on May 5 began to turn things around.

From there, the Sooners looked more like their old selves, winning 14 of 15 to win the program’s eighth national title and cement Gasso’s place among the greatest coaches in sports history.

OU is tied with Arizona for second with eight titles. UCLA won 12.

Gasso is tied with legendary Arizona coach Mike Candrea for most national titles as a head coach.

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The Theooners entered the season on an NCAA-record winning streak and kept it going, winning their first 18 before falling to Louisiana on March 3 to conclude their opening weekend at Love’s Field.

The Theooners dropped a three-game series to the Longhorns in early April as the offense managed just one run in back-to-back games.

Even more surprising, OU fell to BYU 9-4 at home on April 12.

Then they lost their first two games to Oklahoma State.

But the Sooners turned the corner, rallying around their senior class even as freshmen Ella Parker and Cassidy Pickering continued to make great strides.

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They did it again Thursday, as Pickering delivered a two-run homer in the second inning and Parker a two-run single in the sixth to help the Sooners win the title again.

Once Sanders put the Sooners ahead, OU relied on its bullpen.

Nicole Maye — part of that impressive senior class that also includes Kenzie Hansen, Jaida Coleman, Tiari Jennings and Riley Boone — came in and kept the Longhorns off balance with her changeup before finding some trouble in the sixth.

Then it was time for Jasso to call on Kelly Maxwell.

Maxwell got the final four out, grounding Katie Stewart to third to end the inning, leading to celebration on the field and in the stands.

“I’m grateful to be a part of this,” Maxwell said. “We’ve been through a lot this year.”

Here are two more quick takeaways from the win:

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Patti Jasso follows an unconventional presentation plan

After Kelly Maxwell threw a combined 167 pitches over 15 innings the previous two days, Sooners coach Patty Jaso gave Maxwell a break Thursday.

I figured either Nicole May or Kierston Dell, who have combined for 35 games this season, would get the call.

Instead, Jasso went with Liberty transfer Carly Kenney.

Kenney had thrown just one inning against the Longhorns in the Sooners’ five games against them this season, throwing a scoreless inning in an April 6 loss in Austin.

Keeney had thrown just a third of an inning in the WCWS, getting one hit in Monday’s loss to Florida.

Her last start came in the regular season finale, a 6 ⅔ win over Oklahoma State.

Kenney was far from perfect Thursday, but she helped keep the Sooners in it.

She eventually gave up two runs in two innings before giving way to Payten Monticelli — who hasn’t pitched since May 9 against Kansas.

Jasso then went with Dale in fourth place before switching to May and then eventually Kelly Maxwell.

This was the first time in WCWS Championship Series history that a team used five pitchers.

“This is one of the most fun games I’ve ever been a part of because of that,” Jasso said.

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Texas makes a huge mistake with the game on the line

The Longhorns looked like they had a prime chance to tie or take the lead in the sixth inning, when Mia Scott bunted a bunt to pull Texas within one and give them runners on the corners as Viviana Martinez got to the plate.

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But Scott pivoted to second down, trying to push the Sooners into a rundown roster spot that might allow a tying run to register.

OU second baseman Avery Hodge reacted very quickly, though, as he quickly flipped the ball over to Sanders for the third out of the inning.

“No one feels worse than Mia Scott right now,” Longhorns coach Mike White said. “Everything happens for a reason. She’s shy. That’s part of her fighting style and that’s what she does. … It was a big moment in that game. Everyone knows that. She really beat herself up. I know she is. I hope she learns.” who is that.”

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