Softball Ends Season in Tucson

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

May 24, 2008

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TUCSON, Ariz. - The Oklahoma softball team battled until the end, but its season ended in Tucson on Saturday afternoon as the Sooners fell to Arizona, 5-2, in the third and deciding game in the Super Regional. Oklahoma battled to force the third game in the best-of-three series by shutting out the Wildcats, 2-0,  in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday to even the series at 1-1. 

The 10th-seeded Sooners finished their season with an overall mark of 47-14 and finished second in the Big 12 with a 16-2 conference record, its second-best league record in school history. Oklahoma also won its first Super Regional game in school history after going 0-5 in its first five Super Regional contests dating back to 2005.

"I'm so proud of this team for pushing until the very end," head coach Patty Gasso said. "Obviously, you want to win all the championships you can, but this team surprised a lot of people this year. Most of all, they fought until the very end and that is all you can ask for. It was a great competitive series between the teams with hard-fought games."

The Sooners only graduate four seniors from this year's squad as Savannah Long, Susan Ogden, Jadyn Smith and Lauren Eckermann ended their careers.

Game Three Recap:
Arizona 5, Oklahoma 2

The third game of the series had all the runs decided by home runs. Samantha Ricketts and Savannah Long each hit solo home runs while Arizona's Jenae Leles hit a solo homer and a two-run homer while Callista Balko and Sam Banister each added a solo home run.

Junior D.J. Mathis took the loss for the Sooners as she gave up two runs in the top of the first with back-to-back solo home runs before being pulled and replaced by Lauren Eckermann. Mathis fell to 31-7 on the year after lasting only 0.2 innings. Eckermann was solid in relief as she only gave up three runs on six hits in 6.1 innings of work.

It didn't take long for Arizona to take the lead as Leles pounded her 16th homer of the season, a solo shot with two outs in the top of the first, to give Arizona the early 1-0 lead. Banister followed that with a solo home run to left field as Arizona led 2-0 after back-to-back homers. Mathis followed that with a walk and was replaced by Eckermann in the circle. Eckermann hit Roth, the first batter she faced, but settled and retired Balko to end the frame.

Long cut U of A's lead in half in the bottom of the fourth with her two-out solo home run over the left field wall. The two squads headed into the top of the fifth with Arizona leading, 2-1.

Arizona took back two-run lead in the sixth as Balko hammered a two-out solo home run over right centerfield.

It was another solo home run in the bottom of the sixth as Ricketts pounded a solo shot over the batter's eye in centerfield to close the gap at 3-2. Wendy Trott followed that with a single to left and an out later, Jones singled down the right field line as OU had runners at the corners with two outs. However, Oklahoma couldn't add another run as Legendre struck out to end the frame.

The Wildcats responded in the top of the seventh as Leles pounded her second homer of the game, a two-run shot that barely went over the centerfield fence, to extend U of A's lead to 5-2.

The Sooners season was on the line as they headed into the bottom of the seventh trailing, 5-2. After a strikeout by Anderson, Flores tried to spark the Sooners with her one-out double down the left field line. However, the next two batters were retired to end the game and OU's season.

Second Game Recap:
Oklahoma 2, Arizona 0

Oklahoma scored two quick runs in the bottom of the first and it would be all the Sooners needed to force a third game. For the second straight game, Amber Flores led off with a solo home run to left field and Samantha Ricketts added OU's only other run with her RBI single in the first.

OU pitcher D.J. Mathis improved to 31-6 on the year after throwing the complete game shutout. Mathis scattered five hits and struck out seven in the win. T

he Wildcats, the designated visiting team in the contest, put its first two batters on base as Mathis hit the first two batters of the Wildcat lineup to start the game. Catcher Lindsey Vandever picked off the lead runner at second, but Mathis walked the next batter as U of A had runners at first and second with one out. An out later, Mathis walked another batter to load the bases for Arizona's Sam Banister. However, Mathis retired her to escape without giving up a run.

Exactly like the first game of the Super Regional, leadoff batter Flores led off the frame with a solo home run over the left field fence. Flores' 15th homer of the season gave OU the early 1-0 lead. Freshman Krystle Huey followed that with a bloop double to right field. An out later, Ricketts notched an RBI single to right to score Huey and extend the OU lead to 2-0. Lindsey Vandever followed that with a walk, but Savannah Long struck out. Next, Wendy Trott singled to right, but Ricketts was thrown out at plate to end the frame.

Mathis and the Sooners headed to the top of the seventh with the 2-0 lead as Arizona had one last chance. The Wildcats opened the seventh at the top of the order with Lastrapes. The leadoff batter fouled out to Ricketts at first base for the first out of the frame. Arrendondo followed that with a single up the middle and Leles was hit by a pitch as the Wildcats had runners at first and second with only one out. However, Mathis struck out Chambers as Arizona was down to its final out.

Mathis notched her seventh strikeout of the game as Laine Roth struck out looking to end the frame and force a game three.