OKLAHOMA CITY -- Texas will play for its third Big 12 Softball Tournament championship in four years on Saturday afternoon after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning and coming from behind to defeat second-seeded and 10th-ranked Oklahoma, 3-1, on Friday evening, knocking the Sooners out of the tournament. Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas) continued her torrid streak at the 2005 Big 12 Softball Tournament, connecting for the two-out triple that scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning - culminating the eight-pitch at-bat - to snap 1-1 deadlock and lift the Longhorns to the victory. Chez Sievers (Mission Viejo, Calif.) then followed with an RBI single to bring in Boutelle for the insurance run as Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) earned the victory in the circle after a 1.1 inning relief appearance.
With the victory, Texas advanced to the championship game, where they will face either fourth-seeded and seventh-ranked Baylor or fifth-seeded and 17th-ranked Missouri at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in a game that will be aired live on Fox Sports Net. Baylor and Mizzou started play at the conclusion of the UT-OU game but play was suspended because of lightning and severe thunderstorms pushed the game to Saturday morning at 10 a.m., where the teams will pick up with one out in the bottom of the first inning and the Tigers up, 4-0. Mizzou needs two victories over Baylor to advance to the championship game, while Baylor needs one victory to advance.
The Horns' appearance in the championship tilt will be their third in the last four years. Texas won the Big 12 Softball Tournament in both 2002 and 2003.
Boutelle and Sievers have led the way for the Horns at the tournament, generating most of the team's offense in its three games. Sievers leads the team with a .455 (5-for-11) average with three RBI. Boutelle (.375, 3-for-8) has scored three runs and drawn two walks with .500 on-base percentage.
Oklahoma made Texas starter Meagan Denny (Crowley, Texas) work in the first inning, pushing counts full and forcing her to throw 43 pitches in the first frame. Norrelle Dickson drew a lead-off walk on 13 pitches and then Kristen Vesely blooped a single over the infield before Heather Scaglione drew another walk two batters later. Denny got Jessica Leslie to fly out to shallow right for the second out, but then Jamie Fox worked a 10-pitch walk to bring in Dickson for the 1-0 early advantage.
Alexis Garcia (Covina, Calif.) evened the score with her first swing of the game, sending a Stacy Braddock pitch over the left-field fence in the top of the third inning. It was her first home run since an inside-the-park knock against UTEP on March 11. UT generated another scoring chance in the inning with MicKayla Padilla (Cedar Park, Texas) on second and Chez Sievers (Mission Viejo, Calif.) at first with two outs. Megan Willis (Chandler, Ariz.) sent a single up the middle to advance the runners, but with Padilla coming in to score, Vesely gunned her down at home to end the inning when she fielded the ball in shallow center and threw to the plate.
Amy Bradford (Lufkin, Texas) relieved Denny in the fourth and made her first appearance in the circle since suffering injuries in the March 26 Texas dugout collapse at UT's McCombs Field. After the first two runners reached and advanced to second and third, Bradford induced a shallow foul fly and then a fly out to get out of the jam to finish her first inning of work in nearly two months.
In the bottom of the sixth, Bradford cruised and drew two pop outs before Dickson had an infield single and Vesely stretched a liner to left center into a double to put runners at second and third with two outs. Osterman then entered the game in relief and struck out Christina Enea to end the threat, setting up the Horns' heroics in the top of the seventh.
Denny went 3.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits while walking five in the no decision before giving way to Bradford, who went 2.2 scoreless innings and gave up four hits with one walk. Osterman (23-6) closed out the game to earn the win, striking out all four batters she faced.
Braddock (7-7) took the loss, going 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with one strikeout and three walks. Jaydn Smith came in for the final out, but not before hitting Willis with a pitch.
The victory for Osterman pushed her career record at the Big 12 Tournament to 10-0 in 11 appearances and maintained her 0.00 ERA.
The Big 12 Championship game will be aired live on Fox Sports Net at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Live stats and a live Internet broadcast will be available at TexasSports.com.