May 22, 1999

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The University of Oklahoma softball team was eliminated from NCAA regional play after losing 7-3 Saturday to No. 1 seed Louisiana State at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La. Ranked ninth nationally, the No. 2 seed Sooners, who finished the season with a 40-16 record, finished 1-2 in regional play. The Tigers, who improved to 56-9 overall, advanced to face No. 4 seed Southern Mississippi at 7 tonight.

LSU put three runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning off of OU's Jennifer Stewart. Tara Asbill led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a double to deep center field by Ashli Ducote. Trena Peel followed with a single to center field that scored Asbill and Ducote to give LSU a 2-1 lead. The Tigers increased the advantage to 3-1 when Shauna Fremin singled to center field scoring Peel from second.

LSU added four more runs on four hits, including a three-run home run from Fremin off of reliever Lana Moran, in the top of the sixth. Fremin, who hit just her second homer of the year, finished 2-for-2 at the plate with four RBIs.

Stewart allowed five earned runs on seven hits and suffered the loss. She walked two and failed to record a strikeout. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year ended the season with a 22-6 record and a 1.28 ERA.

"We got hit today," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "We came out and scored early which was exciting. We were fired up even when we were down 7-1, and I felt we were still in the game. They hit the ball hard and drove in runners when they needed to.

"We had a couple of opportunities, but we popped balls in the air. We didn't execute the way we needed to, especially later in the game. We didn't answer when they answered back to us. We had runners in scoring position a couple of times, but we just didn't cash in like we should have."

The Sooners, who hit .197 in the tournament, managed to score three runs off of LSU's ace pitcher Britni Sneed. She improved to 23-4 on the season after tossing the complete game. The freshman right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out nine.

OU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Mandy Fulton's one-out single drove in Stephanie Clark, who had doubled, from second base.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Sooners cut the lead to 7-3 as catcher Ashli Barrett's two-run single down the left-field line scored Lynette Velazquez from third and Carey from second.

This marks the fifth straight year OU has failed to advance to the Women's College World Series after making an NCAA regional appearance. Last year, the Sooners lost in the regional final, 3-1, to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.