Who: Georgia When: Thursday, 3 p.m. CT Live Stats: Click Here Where: Palm Springs, Calif. What's at Stake: The Sooners open play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic against Georgia and look to move to 11-0 on the season.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Trailing 3-2 in the top of the seventh inning, the No. 1/2 Oklahoma softball team relied on the top of its lineup to bring home a 7-5, nine-inning victory over Notre Dame (4-5) in the final game of the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif.
Facing just its third deficit of the season, Oklahoma scored one run in the top of the seventh to force extras, then broke the game open with a four-run ninth inning to improve to 10-0 on the season.
Sophomore Lauren Chamberlain started the rally in the seventh with a double to left field. After a groundout moved Chamberlain to third, senior Jessica Shults lifted a fly ball to shallow center field. Notre Dame's Megan Sorlie camped under the ball and fired home, but Chamberlain was able to slide safely under the tag in a close play at the plate.
Notre Dame looked to win the game in the bottom of the eighth but with runners on first and second and one out, senior Michelle Gascoigne, on in relief, recorded a pair of strikeouts to force a ninth inning.
With the game two hours old, the international tiebreaker rule was used in the ninth inning, putting junior Destinee Martinez on second base to start the inning. After an out, senior Brianna Turang singled to center field to put runners on the corners. The Fighting Irish loaded the bases by intentionally walking Chamberlain, the leadoff hitter who had already hit two doubles in the game.
With the bases full, sophomore Georgia Casey and Shults drew back-to-back bases loaded walks to give OU a 5-3 lead. A sacrifice fly by senior Keilani Ricketts extended the lead to 6-3, while an RBI single through the right side by sophomore Shelby Pendley, her third run batted in of the game, gave Oklahoma its seventh and final run.
A two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth cut the Sooners' lead in half at 7-5, but Gascoigne got a ground out and a pair of swinging strikeouts to improve to 5-0 on the year.
On in relief of Ricketts, Gascoigne threw the final 3.2 innings and struck out nine batters. She allowed three runs, one of which was earned, on five hits.
Ricketts got the start and pitched 5.1 innings. She recorded six strikeouts and gave up two earned runs on three hits with zero walks.
The Sooners' rally was necessary because Notre Dame snapped the Sooners' 35-inning scoreless streak in the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Prior to the three-run inning, Oklahoma had not given up a run since the third inning against Northwestern on Feb. 10, throwing four shutouts in a row.
The Fighting Irish loaded the bases in the sixth with one out and scored their first run on a single back up the middle by Katey Haus. Pinch runner Monica Torres scored, but Emilee Koerner was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw from Martinez to Shults.
The danger was not over, however, as Notre Dame starting pitcher Laura Winter hit a double down the left field line to give the Fighting Irish its first and only lead of the game.
Winter was a workhorse in the circle, throwing 177 pitches over 8.2 innings. She struck out 14 and allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and seven walks in the loss.
Oklahoma opened the scoring in the third inning.
Casey walked and stole second base. After a pair of strikeouts, Pendley stroked a single through the right side to score Casey.
Pendley came through again in the fifth inning to stake the Sooners to a 2-0 lead.
Shults drew a two-out walk and was pinch run for by freshman Kady Self. Ricketts drew another walk to put two runners on. Pendley then dropped a double into shallow left field to bring home Self from second base.
The Sooners return to California next weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs. Oklahoma begins its five-game, three-day tournament on Thursday against Georgia at 3 p.m. CT before facing Arizona at 5:30 p.m. CT.
On Friday, Oklahoma takes on UC Santa Barbara at 5:30 p.m. and follows that with an 8 p.m. CT contest against Nebraska. Tournament play closes on Saturday versus Florida State at 11:30 a.m. CT.
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