OKLAHOMA CITY The No. 20 Oklahoma softball team, a No. 5 seed, snapped its 10-game winning streak with a 4-2 loss to sixth-seeded Kansas in the Big 12 Championship Final Saturday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. With the win, Kansas (34-24) became the lowest-seeded team to ever win the tournament trophy while the Sooners made their fifth appearance in the Big 12 Championship Final.
Additionally, four Sooners were named to the All-Tournament Team, more than any other Big 12 school. D.J. Mathis, Samantha Ricketts, Amber Spaulding and Kristin Vesely were all members of the 12-player team.
“We ran into a really good team with Kansas,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “We are still a hot team towards the end of the season so hopefully we can keep it up. I thought it was a hard fought game that was exciting to watch with all the defensive plays, but you have to credit to Kansas and the way (Kassie) Humphreys threw tonight. Of course it’s disappointing because we were so close, but the biggest prize is still on the horizon.”
The Oklahoma offense had been hot during the entire Big 12 Championship, but only recorded four hits against Kansas while the Sooners surrendered eight hits to the Jayhawks.
It was a completely different game from the regular season series where the Sooners swept the Jayhawks at home after recording 15 hits in the two-game series.
KU hurler Serena Settlemier, the Big 12 Championship MVP, earned the start but only pitched one complete inning after giving up three hits and two runs, none earned. Kassie Humphreys (17-16) pitched the next six innings, giving up only one hit while striking out seven Sooners.
Stacia Aleman led the Sooners with the only multiple hit performance (2-for-3) while Norrelle Dickson and Savannah Long each added a hit. Long also had the lone RBI by the Sooners against the Jayhawks.
Kansas opened the game with a single by Stevie Crisosto and a double by Settlemier, the Big 12 Player of the Year. With runners in scoring position and one out, OU starter D.J. Mathis recorded a key strikeout. However, a fielding error by Mathis on the next batter scored two runs and KU owned the 2-0 early lead. The Sooners got out of the inning after Vesely made a diving catch in center field to end the inning.
The Sooners evened it up in the bottom of the first after Ricketts reached second on an error by KU right fielder Heather Stanley, which also scored Dickson. On the ensuing play, Long’s RBI single to left field brought Ricketts home and tied it up at 2-2.
The score remained tied until the top of the sixth when Kansas opened the frame with two straight singles followed by an RBI double by Jessica Moppin. With a runner at third, Heather Stanley’s sacrifice fly added another run and KU took the 4-2 lead that it would never lose.
Mathis fell to 14-7 on the year in her 11th complete game of the season after giving up eight hits and two earned runs with no walks and two strikeouts.
With the Big 12 portion of the postseason done, the Sooners will have to wait until Sunday to find out their NCAA postseason fate. The Division I Softball postseason field of 64 teams will be announced on ESPNews on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.