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No. 1 Oklahoma softball returned to the diamond at Marita Hynes Field on Saturday for the second day of the Norman Regional against Wichita State looking to move to 2-0 on the weekend and clinch their spot in Sunday’s regional final.
Getting the start in the circle for Patty Gasso was senior Shannon Saile who would do a solid job working into the fourth inning, only getting burned by a pair of solo home runs. Giselle Juarez would relieve her and work through two innings allowing a three-run home run of her own before freshman Nicole May finished the job recording the final four outs.
The Shockers would get on the board first in the opening frame with a solo home run by catcher Madison Perrigan. The Sooners would get that run back the following frame on a blast from their catcher Lynnsie Elam to knot things up at 1-1 after two.
That would remain the score into the fourth when Wichita State would get ahold of another one off of Saile with third baseman Ryleigh Buck driving a ball out to left field to put the Shockers in front 2-1.
The score would stay there into the bottom of the fifth which would be the point in which the Oklahoma bats would come to life and seize all the momentum striking for six huge runs to jump out to a sizable advantage.
Second baseman Tiare Jennings got the scoring started with an RBI double off the wall to bring in right fielder Nicole Mendes after she had walked. Designated player Jocelyn Alo and first baseman Kinzie Hansen then followed that up with run-scoring hits of their own to have the score sitting at 4-2.
But the big swing would come later on in the frame, with Elam blasting her second home run of the day – this one a three-run blast to make the score 7-2 Oklahoma. The game went from being in control of Wichita State to a laugher the other way seemingly in the blink of an eye.
The Shockers, however, were not going to go quietly into the night. They would respond back in the sixth with a three-run home run from Buck – her second of the afternoon – to pull within a couple of runs at 7-5.
Oklahoma would be retired scoreless in the bottom half of the frame leaving May to try and hang on for the win. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Wichita State would pick up back-to-back two-out singles to put pressure on the freshman. But, with the game on the line, May once again stepped up with a monster strikeout to end the game.
The win moves the Sooners to 47-2 on the year and moves them on to Sunday’s regional final. This was a significant test that Gasso’s squad passed, taking the Shockers’ best shot and finding a way to absorb it and survive for the hard-fought victory.
Oklahoma will head to Sunday having two chances to win one game and move to the Super Regionals starting at 3:00 p.m. CT.