Though Saturday's venue was the big stage of the Women's College World Series, OU's 7-8-9 hitters played just like they did during that three-game set in Austin in mid-April as the Sooners (54-4) rolled to a 10-2, five-inning win over the Longhorns (50-9).
Destinee Martinez, Callie Parsons and Brianna Turang combined to go 14-28 during the three-game regular season series that OU won two games to one. On Saturday, Martinez and Parsons each went 2-3 while Turang's four-base error in the third brought home three runs as the Sooners moved to within one win of the World Series Finals.
"That was fun," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. "We enjoyed it very much, not necessarily because of the outcome of the amount of the score, because we respect Texas like nobody else. We were really feeling that this was going to be a major battle. We knew it right from the start.
"But what was fun is to see every single one of these players participate in the win, whether they're starters or not. Everybody had a hand in helping create a rally or drive in runs or make big plays."
Oklahoma plays again on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2 against the winner of Sunday afternoon's Game 10, which will feature Washington and the winner of Saturday night's Arizona State-Michigan elimination contest.
Saturday's run-rule win was the fifth in seven postseason games for Oklahoma, and the team is now outscoring opponents 76-11 in postseason play.
For the second time in the World Series, OU failed to score first. However, just like in Thursday night's 7-1 win against Michigan, the Sooners answered right back to take the lead.
"Everybody had a part in it, and I was extremely proud to see this team fight," Gasso said. "Early on, not getting panicked by the fact that Texas came out and scored early and scored two early. We just kind of took our time and were patient and created some momentum and tried to stay aggressive. It seemed to work out really well."
After Texas plated two runs in the top of the third with an RBI single and bases-loaded walk to snap Keilani Ricketts' hitless streak at 12.2 innings, Oklahoma responded with six runs of its own in the bottom of the frame.
Sophomore Georgia Casey started the inning with a walk and took second as fellow sophomore Shelby Pendley pulled a single through the right side. The Sooners then got on the board as Ricketts helped her own cause by doubling into the right field corner to drive home Casey.
A walk to junior Brittany Williams loaded the bases, and chased starting pitcher Blaire Luna, who entered the game with a 31-5 record and 1.22 earned run average. In her shortest start of the season, Luna walked five and allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits in just two innings of work.
Relief pitcher Kim Bruins came on and got a strikeout and force out at home for two quick outs but Parsons delivered a single back up the middle on a 3-2 count. Sophomore Erica Sampson, running for Shults, scored easily while Williams was able to score as she dislodged the ball from catcher Mandy Ogle on a play at the plate.
With two outs and a one-run lead, senior Brianna Turang then tapped a ball in front of home plate. Bruins fielded and tried to throw her out at first, but Bruins' throw went wide of first base, careened off the wall in right field foul territory and ricocheted toward the wall in right field, allowing Turang to speed all the way around the bases and give the Sooners a 6-2 lead.
"I think because there were runners in scoring position, I saw they [Texas] were a little bit back," Turang said. "So my goal was kind of to put it in between to where they kind of didn't know who was going to get the ball. It went a little bit over. I didn't expect it. But I just tried to run my butt off to get to first and just kind of see what happens, just use my speed to maybe put pressure on the defense."
Oklahoma added to its lead with three runs in the fourth.
Casey and Pendley each drew walks to start the inning before executing a double steal with one. Williams then drove a ball to the warning track in right field for a sacrifice fly. Jessica Shults followed with her third RBI of the WCWS with an run-scoring single to center field. Freshman Erin Miller ran for Shults and moved up a bag when Martinez singled to left center. Miller touched home when Parsons singled back up the middle for her career-best third run batted in of the game.
The game ended in the fifth when sophomore Lauren Chamberlain led off with a triple after right fielder Gabby Smith lost the ball in the sun and Casey drove a single to the gap in right field.
Ricketts earned the win and saw her record improve to 33-1. She struck out two and walked four, but allowed only three hits and two earned runs to beat Texas for a third time this season.