Oklahoma’s streak is over. The perfect season has ended.
Turns out the team that would finally challenge the Sooners this season was Georgia all along, even if it took extra innings.
The No. 1-ranked Sooners rallied from a slow start with a sixth-inning grand slam, but pitching failed in the late innings and the Bulldogs came away with a dramatic 7-6 victory over OU on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader at Jack Turner Softball Stadium in Athens.
Oklahoma had won 25 of its first 33 games in run-rule fashion, but the 22nd-ranked Bulldogs won it on a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
OU fell to 33-1 — two wins off the NCAA record for the best start to a season in college softball history — and had their 40-game winning streak dating back to last year snapped. The all-time NCAA mark is 47 in a row, and the OU school record is 41 straight.
The Sooners, coming off three run-rule victories over Texas last weekend, trailed in a game for just the third time all season. Offense was hard to come by all night against Georgia ace Mary Wilson Avent, who mostly handcuffed the Sooner lineup for all but the sixth inning.
Grace Lyons gave the Sooners a boost in the second inning with a solo home run that put OU up 1-0.
But in the fourth, Georgia tied it on a solo home run by Sydney Kuma, and then took the lead on an odd and controversial play.
With Sara Mosley on base after a single, Jaiden Fields blasted a home run over the wall in center field to put the Bulldogs up 3-1.
But after Mosley scored, Fields inexplicably hopped over home plate while celebrating, and never went back and touched it. When she entered the dugout, she was called out, leaving the score at 2-1.
In the top of the sixth, Oklahoma played small-ball before turning to the big ball.
Jocelyn Alo led off with an infield single. After a ground ball by Kinzie Hansen forced Alo at second, Lyons was hit by pitch and Jayda Coleman walked to load the bases.
Taylon Snow then fouled out before Lynnsie Elam’s grand slam changed the game. Elam’s ball was tracked by center fielder C.J. Landrum, but the ball hit the top of the wall in left-center field as Landrum reached up and deflected into the trees beyond the fence to put the Sooners ahead 5-2.
Giselle Juarez pitched five strong innings, but she was pulled to start the sixth, and Shannon Saile struggled in relief. Sikes led off with a single, but then Saile struck out Kuma for the first out. Saile then walked Lacey Fincher and Mosley to load the bases, and a single by Fields scored two runs to make it 5-4 before Nicole May came in and ended the threat by inducing a ground ball.
OU added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Nicole Mendes drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout by Alo. Hansen then flared an opposite field single to right field to score Mendes and put the Sooners up 6-4.
That insurance run kept the Sooners in the game temporarily, because the Bulldogs plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
OU went in order in the eighth and ninth innings, and in the bottom of the ninth, Savana Sikes singled and Kuma drew a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
Jana Johns then made two spectacular defensive plays at third base, fielding ground balls and forcing the runner out twice, before Fields redeemed her mistake at home plate by driving in the game-winning run with a single to left field.
Alo had a chance to throw out Jacqui Switzer coming home from second, but her throw home was up the first-base line and Switzer slid safely for the game-winner.