No. 10 Softball rallies to drop No. 3 Oklahoma, 5-4, in 10 innings
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 10th-ranked Texas Softball team rallied back from an early three-run deficit and used a 10th-inning bunt single and a Sooner error to knock off No. 3 Oklahoma, 5-4 Saturday at McCombs Field. The Longhorns 10th inning international tie-break victory moved UT to 25-7 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play, while the Sooners fell to 36-3 and 3-1 in the Big 12.
Junior leftfielder MicKayla Padilla started Texas' 10th inning on second base and came all the way home on Shannon Thomas' bunt single to Oklahoma third baseman Norelle Dickson. Dickson's throw sailed high, allowing Padilla to advance an extra base and score the game-winning tally for the Longhorns.
"Our goal is to play inning-by-inning and to play our game," stated Thomas. "We stayed aggressive the entire game, and we really wanted to get the job done today."
Junior righthander Meagan Denny (16-6) earned the victory for Texas, scattering 11 hits in 10.0 innings, surrendering just four runs and fanning 14 Sooners. Oklahoma's starter Lauren Eckermann (21-1) suffered her first defeat of the season after tossing a complete game and allowing five runs on four hits and striking out four UT hitters.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning the Longhorns rallied to claim a 4-3 advantage in their half of the third inning. Thomas jumpstarted the UT rally by singling to the pitcher and then scored on Loryn Johnson's RBI double to move the tally to 3-1.
Two batters later, senior catcher Megan Willis delivered a two-out bunt single that advanced Johnson to third and set the stage for sophomore rightfielder Kacie Gaskin. Gaskin gave the Horns their first lead of the weekend when she hammered a three-run home run, her ninth of the season, giving Texas a 4-3 edge.
"I knew the situation when I stepped up to the plate, and I just wanted to do something with whatever pitch she threw," noted Gaskin. "(Eckermann) had a great game and she did a good job of keeping us off balance with her location and her changeup."
Oklahoma rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning, using an RBI triple by Dickson to knot the game at four apiece.
"Big 12 Conference play is going to be a real dogfight this season," said head coach Connie Clark. "Splitting this series with Oklahoma, who is one of the hottest teams in the country, was very important."
The Sooners used four first-inning hits, including one of Dickson's five hits, to claim an early 3-0 advantage. Dickson led off the game with an infield single, and leftfielder Amber Flores reached on a hit-by-pitch before first baseman Samantha Ricketts delivered an RBI single that gave OU a 1-0 lead. A single by designated player Susan Ogden scored Flores, and a bases-loaded walk to Lindsey Vandever pushed Ricketts across, pushing the Oklahoma lead to 3-0.
Thomas headlined the Texas offense on the day, going three-for-five with one run scored, while Willis and freshman centerfielder Kori Cook added two hits a piece.
Texas returns to action Wednesday, March 25 when it plays host to No. 4 Texas A&M in Big 12 Conference play. Play begins at 6:30 p.m. and the game will broadcast live on ESPNU.