OKLAHOMA CITY -- Monica Askew's (Houston, Texas) two-out RBI single up the middle plated Megan Willis (Chandler, Ariz.) and Wynter Turner (San Pedro, Calif.) and snapped a 0-0 deadlock in the fifth inning, lifting third-seeded Texas to a 2-0 victory over fifth-seeded Missouri for its third Big 12 Tournament title in the last four years on Saturday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) tossed a one-hitter for her second shutout of the tournament and was named Tournament MVP for the third time in her career as the Longhorns became the first school that was not a number one or two seed to win the postseason championship. Texas now has won a conference-best four Big 12 Softball Tournaments.
Willis, Chez Sievers (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas) were also voted to the All-Big 12 Tournament Team.
With the victory, Texas (42-11) earned the Big 12 Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Missouri (42-13) had played three games on Saturday, after sweeping Baylor, 9-1 and 10-4 (8 inn.), in a pair of games to earn a spot in the championship game.
After Mizzou starter Erin Kalka tossed four innings of no-hit ball and faced the minimum through those frames, Desiree Williams (Tucson, Ariz.) led off the fifth with a single back up the middle for the first Texas hit of the game. Though she was taken out of play on Willis' fielder's choice, the Longhorns still kept a baserunner before Turner dropped a bloop single into shallow left field. Both runners advanced a base on a passed ball, setting up Askew's heroics. The Longhorns' designated player took a 2-0 pitch and bounced it back up the middle, just out of a leaping Kalka's reach and the Tigers' diving middle infielders, allowing both Willis and Turner to come home.
From there, Osterman (24-6) cruised, and got six straight outs - four via strikeout - to lead UT to the title. She struck out 16, a new Big 12 Tournament best for her, and walked two in the victory, her third of the weekend. She pushed her career record at the Big 12 Tournament to 11-0 and maintained her 0.00 ERA at the annual event. This week, she was 3-0 and allowed one hit in 15.1 innings, striking out 34 batters while walking four.
Kalka (10-7) took the loss, going 5.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out two.
Mizzou put pressure on the Longhorns early in the game, drawing a pair of two-out walks and the stealing bases to get runners on second and third. However, Osterman struck out Kendra Power to end the inning.
The Tigers again put pressure on Texas in the fourth when Micaela Minner saw a long fly ball fall in for a triple as two Texas outfielders nearly collided as they lost it in the sun. Osterman took control of the inning from there, striking out the heart of the Tigers' order to get out of the jam and preserve the 0-0 deadlock.
With Texas up 2-0, the Longhorns put more pressure on Missouri in the bottom of the sixth. MicKayla Padilla (Cedar Park, Texas) led off with a single, chasing Kalka from the game, before Chez Sievers (Mission Viejo, Calif.) followed with a walk two batters later issued by Erica Peterson. After Williams went ahead 2-0, the Tigers switched pitchers and brought in Jen Bruck, who then walked Williams. However, Bruck got Willis to ground into a double play to end the inning and keep the score at 2-0.
The Longhorns will next await word about their seed in the NCAA Tournament, which will begin with Regional play next weekend, May 20-22 at campus sites. Texas is one of the teams vying to host the opening rounds of play where 16 schools will host four-team regionals. The NCAA will make the announcement live on ESPNews on Sunday, May 15 between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Big 12 Tournament All-Tournament Team
Cat Osterman, Texas - Most Valuable Player
Tina Boutelle, Texas
Chez Sievers, Texas
Megan Willis, Texas
Jen Bruck, Missouri
Janessa Roening, Missouri
Heather Kunkel, Missouri
Erin Kalka, Missouri
Kami Keiter, Oklahoma
Heather Scaglione, Oklahoma
Carrie Leerberg, Baylor
Kelly Osburn, Baylor
Kim Wilmoth, Baylor
Megan Gibson, Texas A&M