|W - Stevens (24-6)||7.0||3||1||1||0||7|
|L - Davis (13-8)||6.0||6||4||4||4||5|
|S - N/A||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|OU - Casey||3||2||2||2||0||1|
|UT - Ogle||2||1||1||1||0||1|
|Player of the Game|
|Georgia Casey // Jr. // IF/P
Casey delivered the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning to spark the Sooners' victory. She finished 2-3 with two runs scored and two RBI thanks to a two-run home run in the fifth inning. That broke a 1-1 tie and helped keep OU in first place in the Big 12 standings.
NORMAN, Okla. – A pair of home runs in the fifth inning aided sophomore Kelsey Stevens’ outstanding effort in the circle as No. 16/12 Oklahoma took the first game of an important series against Texas Thursday night, 4-1.
The first-place Sooners (33-9, 10-1) held their advantage in the standings over the second-place Longhorns (26-17, 6-2) as they aim to become the first team in Big 12 history to win three consecutive conference titles. Oklahoma has now won three straight against Texas and four of their last five.
It was a pitchers’ duel early at Marita Hynes Stadium, but after two scoreless innings both teams notched a run in the third.
Texas got on the board first as Mandy Ogle led off the frame with a solo home run to left field, but Oklahoma answered back in the bottom of the inning.
“It seems like anytime somebody wants to score first on us, we’ll answer right back and then again and again,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “Sometimes you’re almost waiting for someone to score first to ignite the offense to say ‘not on us.’”
Junior Georgia Casey hit a two-out single up the middle and moved up to second as sophomore Kady Self followed with a single of her own. Junior Shelby Pendley drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases for Brittany Williams. On a 1-0 pitch, Williams smashed a one-hopper off the glove of third baseman Devon Tunning to drive home Casey and tie the game.
After allowing a leadoff single for Lindsey Stephens in the fourth, Stevens would proceed to retire the next 12 batters she faced to run her record to 24-6 on the season. She picked up a pair of strikeouts in the fifth and added one each in the sixth and seventh to complete her tally of seven punchouts.
“I just wanted to start off the game right and make a statement,” Stevens said. “I thought the fans were really great so that helped. I wanted to try to make them chase pitches rather than getting behind in the count. I think we had a good game plan going into it, and it worked well.”
She allowed just one run on three hits and did not walk a batter. Stevens has won her past nine starts and has allowed just eight runs in 50.1 innings of conference play for a 1.11 earned run average.
“She’s showing that she’s got a rubber arm and I’m sure she’s going to want to throw the next two games,” Gasso said of Stevens’ performance. “What I’m just finding out about her is she’s really a competitor. When you have a pitcher who has talent and is a competitor on the mound, big things are going to happen.
“I just see great improvement from her. She’s coming up clutch with some big pitches when we need them.”
The Oklahoma offense aided Stevens with a three-run fifth inning.
No. 9 hitter Jessica Vest got the inning started with a five-pitch walk. That brought Casey to the plate and she tagged the first pitch she saw to center field for her eighth home run of the season and 24th of her career.
“I think it all fed off Jessica Vest’s at bat,” Casey said of her home run. “She worked really hard to get on first and I almost wanted to do good for her since she had such a big time at bat. I wanted to come up clutch for her and for Kelsey to get that run back.”
Later in the frame, Williams picked up her second RBI of the game when she drilled a solo homer just to the right of Casey’s shot in center field. It was Williams’ fifth of the season and No. 30 of her Sooners’ career.
Game two of the series is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start on Friday night. It will air on Fox Sports Oklahoma.