OKLAHOMA CITY Led by Amber Spaulding’s career day at the plate, the fifth-seeded Oklahoma softball team (37-18-1) won the third edition of Bedlam Thursday night with a 10-2 run rule (five innings) over Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City.
With the win, Oklahoma advances to the semi finals of the Big 12 Championship Friday night at 7 p.m. at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Sooners’ opponent must beat them twice to advance to the Championship finals.
“We were still feeding off of the adrenaline from the Texas A&M game and came out strong against the Cowgirls tonight,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “They are very excited about being in the driver’s seat and getting the day off until tomorrow night. The offensive performances from Amber Spaulding and Kristin Vesely were crucial to us tonight. These guys are stepping up and picking each other up and getting timely hitting and that is the key in championship play.”
For the second straight game, Oklahoma put double-digit runs on the board and extended its winning streak to nine games. Spaulding set a career mark with a 4-for-4 outing with two triples and five RBI. Additionally, her two triples in a single game ties the OU single game record set by seven other former Sooners.
The top four in the lineup for the Sooners (Dickson, Spaulding, Vesely, Ricketts) were stellar as they went 8-for-11 with eight RBI and five walks. Additionally, Kristin Vesely is now four hits shy of breaking the OU career record (289) after posting two against the Cowgirls.
Spaulding put the Sooners on the board first with a two RBI single to score Stacia Aleman, who reached on a double, and Norrelle Dickson. Vesely followed with an RBI double that plated Spaulding to push the OU lead to 3-0 nothing after two frames.
Oklahoma State added its first run in the top of the third after Lauren Kitchens’ double to right field scored Courtney Totte, who reached base on an error.
It was Spaulding again in the third as she pounded her third hit of the game, a two RBI triple to center field. Similar to the first inning, Vesely added an RBI single on the ensuing play and OU held the 6-1 advantage after three innings.
In the top of the fourth, Lacy Darity pounded a solo shot to center field, only her second of the year, to close the gap to 6-2.
However, the Sooners ran away with it in the bottom of the fifth after Dickson led off the inning with a walk and Spaulding’s second triple of the game, her team-leading fourth of the season, drove in Dickson. Ricketts added an RBI single to push the OU lead to 8-1. A ground out RBI by Savannah Long plated another run and Oklahoma scored its game-ending run on a throwing error by the OSU third baseman as OU took the 10-2 run rule win.
It marked OU starter Nicole Denes’ second straight victory over the Cowgirls. The senior hurler improved to 12-5 after holding OSU to two runs, one earned, on six hits while fanning four Cowgirls.
OSU’s Jessica Hoppock fell to 14-22 with her third loss to the Sooners this season. Hoppock allowed six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings while walking four Sooners. Chelsey Barclay came in relief in the final 1.2 innings and surrendered four runs, three earned, on three hits while also walking four Sooners.
OU’s opponent on Friday night is yet to be determined. The loser of the Kansas vs. Missouri game (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.) will face Texas A&M Friday at 1:30 p.m. The winner of that game will face the Sooners in Friday night’s game and must beat them twice. If Oklahoma loses on Friday night, it will play the same opponent on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the winner advancing to the finals at 3 p.m. on Saturday.