OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma busted Thursday night’s title-deciding battle with Texas in the top of the fifth inning.
Left fielder Alyssa Brito doubled down the left field line to give OU its first lead of the game, and then catcher Kinzie Hansen launched a three-run bomb to extend the lead to 6-2.
Lead finally in hand, Patty Gasso made a pitching change.
True freshman Jordy Bahl was pulled after four innings of work, and Gasso turned to sophomore Nicole May.
After playing a key role in the Oklahoma rotation throughout the postseason, May had faded to the background a bit at the Women’s College World Series.
Super senior Hope Trautwein fired the Sooners through Northwestern and Texas in OU’s first two contests, and May finally got her shot against the UCLA Bruins in game one of the semifinals.
To put it bluntly, the stint didn’t go well.
May pitched 2 1/3 innings against the Bruins, surrendering five runs on four hits, walking three UCLA batters while also fanning three.
She left the Sooners in a 5-1 hole, but the Oklahoma offense was unable to recover.
But May rebounded.
In Oklahoma’s blowout of the Longhorns in Game 1 of the championship series, May tossed two scoreless innings.
And then she closed the door on any potential Texas comeback once the Sooners wrestled back control of Game 2.
May only allowed one hit and fired two strikeouts across 2 1/3 innings, a response that didn’t surprise Hansen one bit.
“Even last year Nicole May has been lights-out in postseason,” Hansen said after the game Thursday. “When we played Washington last year, we won the game 2-1, and I saw that fire in her today.
“Everybody has bad games. We can't all be perfect, but when she came out on that mound today after Jordy, I just — the look in her eyes, when I had gotten that first squat, I was, like, yeah, she's going to do it. Just the vibe that she gave off and just the fire that she had and kind of vengeance a little bit from her last outing. She knew she was going to do it, and everybody else knew too.”
Overall, May ended the season with a 15-1 record, and she finished ranked 10th in the country with a 1.30 earned run average.
The Pleasanton, CA, native struck out 99 batters, only allowing 31 walks and holding opponents to a .170 batting average.
Gasso said the cameo for May in the closing moments of the season were important headed into next year, as the sophomore got to help close the book on her second National Championship with the Sooners.
“I wanted Nicole May to come in and walk out of this tournament feeling very good about what she was doing,” Gasso said. “I felt she did a great job of holding that down.”
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