NORMAN, Okla. The No. 19 Oklahoma softball team (27-16-1) fell to No. 2 Texas (42-4), 9-4, Friday night in the first game of the series at the OU Softball Complex. A sold-out crowd of 1,423 (the sixth largest in history at the OU Softball Complex) saw the Sooners drop to 4-8 in Big 12 play and the first-place Longhorns improve to 8-1 in conference action.
UT’s Cat Osterman, the NCAA career strikeout leader, improved to 26-1 on the year after striking out 13 Sooners and only allowing two hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings of work. Osterman shared time with Meagan Denny who came in for relief and pitched for only 1.2 innings before being taken out again and replaced by Osterman. The Sooners posted three runs on three hits in Denny’s limited time in the circle.
Conversely, Oklahoma threw four different pitchers in the contest and gave up 15 hits while only striking out two batters.
Senior Kristin Vesely led the Sooner offense with a 2-for-3 outing, including her fourth home run of the season, a career high for a season. Right fielder Jamie Fox and Samantha Ricketts also added a home run. Sophomore Savannah Long was the only other Sooner to record a hit in the contest.
Texas took the momentum in the first inning as leadoff batter Desiree Williams opened the game with a single to right field and four-hole hitter Megan Willis singled to left field. Chez Sievers, who went a perfect 4-for-4 on the night, doubled down the left field line to give UT the 2-0 lead.
“We can’t get ourselves in a situation where we are down 2-0 in the first inning,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “Our pitchers have to execute in the circle and we didn’t get that done today. Our squad is ready to come out with a fresh start tomorrow and swing the momentum our way.”
Fox answered in the bottom of the first as she pounded a home run to left field, marking only the fifth home run Osterman has given up this season.
UT added another run in the top of the third after Amber Hall homered to right field to extend the Longhorns’ advantage to 3-1.
The Horns weren’t done as they added a Jacqueline Williams home run in the fourth and followed that with a Tina Boutelle RBI. A Kacie Gaskin RBI single in the fifth added to the momentum as UT went up 6-1
Oklahoma threatened in the sixth after back-to-back home runs by Vesely and Ricketts. A double steal scored pinch runner Jade Prather as OU pushed to within two, but it was the closest the Sooners would get.
Texas rallied in the seventh using a three-run, three-hit inning to take the 9-4 lead that it would never lose.
Senior Nicole Denes (6-5) earned the start and gave up three earned runs on six hits in 3.1 innings of work. Freshman D.J. Mathis gave up two hits and two runs in 1.1 innings while sophomore Jadyn Smith gave up one run on two hits in 1/3 of an inning. Freshman Morgan Hudsonpillar was the fourth pitcher for OU in the game as she gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits in two complete innings.
The Sooners will try to bounce back on Saturday as they face Texas at 12 p.m. at the OU Softball Complex. Additionally, the game will be televised on ESPN (Cox Channel 29, OKC).