Sooners jump out early, down Texas in Big 12 title game

May 11—It's rare that Oklahoma finds itself as the visiting team in the Big 12 championship game. It hasn't happened since 2011.

But facing its rival at Devon Park, the venue where it might see Texas next, the Sooners wanted to put the pressure on the Longhorns early. That always seemed to be the formula for Oklahoma's success during its run of three straight national titles.

The second-seeded Sooners put runs up early, five in the first four innings, and the Longhorns made uncharacteristic mistakes that could be attributed to the groove their opponent was in early on.

Oklahoma got its payback on Saturday in a 5-1 win to secure its ninth conference tournament title in its final season in the Big 12.

"The team was fired up today," head coach Patty Gasso said. "They knew what we needed to do. They wanted this. They wanted to bring a trophy back home. It was our last Big 12 so it meant a lot to them.

"If we can set that tone, we can stay in that, we can stay in that tone."

The tone was set when Tiare Jennings hit an RBI double into right field in the bottom of the first inning. Two batters later, Kinzie Hansen brought home another run on a double, but was thrown out trying to make it all the way to third.

They put two more runs on the board in the third, answering after the Longhorns' first run of the game. Once again, Hansen hit a double into right field, this time remaining on second as Brito scored from first.

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Kelly Maxwell was in complete command of her pitches against a tough Longhorn offense. She only allowed two hits, one coming on a triple by Kayden Henry to score the Longhorns' lone run in the second inning.

Maxwell left the game in the sixth inning, having struck out seven batters with just three walks.

"Masterful. So good," Gasso said about Maxwell. "So in control. So focused. Pretty elite, against a team that hits the ball like Texas does, that's an elite, elite performance."

Nicole May took her place and never gave Texas a chance to cut into the lead. After giving up eight hits in a loss to Oklahoma State in her last outing, May kept the Longhorns hitless over the final 1.2 innings with three strikeouts and no walks.

"I always just wish everything great for her because of that and her work ethic," Gasso said. "The two of them were absolute boss ladies tonight and it was fun to watch."

Oklahoma now turns its attention to Selection Sunday where its postseason path will be revealed. The bracket will be released on Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing