No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners beat No. 1 Texas Longhorns 5-1, win Big 12 tournament championship

Oklahoma Sooners pitcher Kelly Maxwell threw a gem, and the Sooners enacted Red River revenge on the Texas Longhorns to win the Big 12 tournament title.

Maxwell threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits and three walks. She recorded seven strikeouts against a vaunted Texas offense that was averaging just over 15 runs per game in its last five outings. Maxwell and the Sooners snapped Texas’ 18-game winning streak, which started with the second game of the OU-Texas three-game series in Austin.

Batting as the visiting team, the Oklahoma Sooners started early. Jayda Coleman reached on an error by first baseman Katie Stewart. Ella Parker picked up an infield single, beating the throw from second base on a slow dribbler. Tiare Jennings made her presence felt with a double to score Coleman. With Parker on third, Kinzie Hansen came through with a fielder’s choice RBI to put Oklahoma up 2-0 in the first inning.

Maxwell worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first but ran into trouble in the second. After a couple of strikeouts, Maxwell surrendered a walk to Joley Mitchell and Kayden Henry drove in the Longhorns only run of the game with a triple to right center. Maxwell ended the threat, leaving Henry stranded on third.

Like they’ve done so many times, the Sooners responded in the top of the third inning. Parker singled and advanced on a wild pitch. She came around to score on a hard-hit ball by Alyssa Brito to put Oklahoma up 3-1. Hansen brought Brito around to make it 4-1. Hansen had a double that she nearly turned into a triple, but the Texas relay throw was just in time to get Hansen at third and retire the side.

The Longhorns couldn’t take advantage of a lead-off single in the top of the third as Maxwell retired the next three Longhorns in order.

The Sooners tacked on another run in the top of the fourth after Alynah Torres reached on another Texas error. Boone singled up the middle to score Torres to put the Sooners up 5-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Maxwell needed just six pitches to retire the Longhorns in order. In the fifth, she surrendered a leadoff walk but struck out the next two Longhorns before inducing a ground out to end the inning.

In the sixth, Maxwell ran into trouble after she walked and hit Texas batters to put runners on first and second with nobody out for Big 12 Player of the Year Reese Atwood. Atwood lined a ball to straight away center field that Jayda Coleman played perfectly to prevent the Longhorns from pushing two runs across.

But then Patty Gasso and Jennifer Rocha went to the bullpen and senior Nicole May. May had struggled from the circle, but was flawless in her 1 2/3 innings of work. May recorded three strikeouts to help preserve the victory and give the Sooners the Big 12 tournament title for the second year in a row.

It was Maxwell’s second Big 12 tournament title in the last three years after beating the Sooners as a pitcher for the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in 2021. In this one, against arguably the hottest team in the country, Maxwell was lights out.

With the win, Maxwell moved to 17-2 on the season. Ella Parker continued her incredible tournament with another two-hit game. Parker was named most outstanding player for the tournament. She was 7-for-9 in Oklahoma’s three games with a home run, two doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored.

It’s the Sooners’ ninth Big 12 tournament title since the formation of the conference. Now, they head into the NCAA tournament on a high note. The Oklahoma Sooners will host an NCAA regional next weekend, but we’ll find out who it is on selection Sunday.

After beating Texas to split the four games, the Sooners have a chance to move back into the top spot after Tennessee was bounced early in the SEC tournament by LSU and Oklahoma State lost to BYU in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire