OU Softball: Oklahoma Exacts Revenge, Takes Down Texas to Win Big 12 Tournament

The No. 4-ranked Sooners jumped on Texas early and never looked back to win the program's ninth and final Big 12 Tournament title.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma waited 34 days for revenge. 

Handed the chance to avenge their pair of regular-season losses to the Texas Longhorns, the Sooners wasted no time. 

Tiare Jennings set the tone with an RBI double in the first inning to put No. 4-ranked OU on top, and the Sooners never looked back. 

OU capitalized on a pair of Longhorn errors and starting pitcher Kelly Maxwell pitched nearly the entire contest with a lead as Oklahoma downed No. 1 Texas 5-1 at Devon Park, formerly Hall of Fame Stadium.

"The team was fired up today," OU coach Patty Gasso said after the win. "They had a good plan together with coaches. They knew what we needed to do.

"... They wanted this, wanted to bring the trophy back home. At least our last Big 12. It meant a lot to them."

The Sooners (49-6) took home their ninth Big 12 Tournament title with the win over Texas (47-7), closing OU’s Big 12 era with 24 total conference titles as the programs head to the Southeastern Conference next year.

Both teams entered the day as the top two in RPI, meaning the Sooners are also in great position to earn the No. 1-overall seed when the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Sunday. 

Final Box Score
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The Sooners took advantage of shaky defense to race out to an early lead. 

Jayda Coleman reached on an error, and Ella Parker reached base after Texas second baseman Alyssa Washington sat back on her ground ball, allowing Parker time to race down to first. 

Jennings capitalized on the miscues. 

She found the gap in right-center field for a double, which also marked her 300th career hit. Jennings is only the fourth Sooner to total 300 hits after Jocelyn Alo (343), Norrelle Dickson (328) and Sydney Romero (320).

The double plated Coleman and put Parker on third, setting the stage for catcher Kinzie Hansen

Sensing the early momentum, Texas opted to take a mound visit, which only prompted the Oklahoma crowd to get on their feet and shower the stadium in “O-U” chants. 

When action returned, Hansen forced shortstop Viviana Martinez to cover some ground on the left side of the infield to corral her grounder. It gave Parker plenty of time to score to put OU up 2-0, though Jennings was the victim of the fielder’s choice.

The fast start didn't surprise Jennings, as she's noticed a different look from the team all week.

"Today we stayed at a super neutral place," she said. "But the look was different today. It was just fun. It was free. Even when we weren’t having success, the energy in the dugout was really, really good."

Maxwell rolled through the first five batters, but walked Joley Mitchell with two outs in the second inning. 

She looked as if she would immediately battle back as she fired her first two pitches to Kayden Henry in for strikes, but the Texas center fielder doubled to essentially the same spot as Jennings, cutting OU’s lead to 2-1.

Oklahoma reasserted itself in the third inning. 

Down two strikes with two outs, Alyssa Brito singled off Washington’s glove to bring home Parker. 

Hansen then continued the string of clutch hitting.

She doubled to the right-center wall score Brito, putting OU up 4-1, though the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was thrown out at third trying to stretch the play into a triple to end the threat. 

A pair of Texas mistakes helped the Sooners add to their lead in the fourth. 

Alynah Torres reached base after Texas third baseman Mia Scott overthrew first, giving Torres enough time to get to second. 

Then a wild pitch moved the OU second baseman up 60 feet, and Rylie Boone brought her home with a chopper that snuck under Leighann Goode’s glove at second. 

Texas’ best chance to get back into the game came in the sixth. 

Scott walked and Maxwell plunked Martinez to put a pair aboard for Big 12 Player of the Year Reese Atwood with no outs. 

That's when Coleman flashed the leather and saved the day, robbing Atwood of a sure double with a twisting, fully extended catch on a ball hit over her head. 

Gasso then went to the bullpen, withdrawing Maxwell in favor of right-hander Nicole May with one out. 

Maxwell finished with seven strikeouts while allowing three walks and two hits in 5 1/3 innings of action.

"Masterful. So good, so in control, so focused," Gasso said of Maxwell. "Pretty elite, against a team that hits the way Texas does. That was an elite, elite performance."

May retired both batters she faced in the sixth. She capped the inning off with a strikeout to send the crowd back into a frenzy as the fans recognized how close the Sooners were to finishing the job. 

The senior pitcher returned to shut down Texas in the seventh, closing the door on a Longhorn lineup that had scored 27 runs in the Big 12 Tournament to reach the title game. 

"Nicole has been the steady from the very beginning," Gasso said. "She’s been loyal and strong to this program. I always wish everything great for her because of that and her work ethic. The two of them together were absolute boss ladies tonight. It was cool to watch."

Parker continued her excellent weekend as she finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate. Six total Sooners added hits in the win. 

After the game, Parker was named the Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. In games against Kansas, BYU and Texas she combined to go 7-of-10 at the plate with five RBIs and a walk. She scored six runs, two in each game, and didn't strike out.

"I was just coming in just playing the game I know," said Parker, "and I didn't have any expectations for any of that but just playing my way of softball. Playing free is what really drove me this weekend and what I was focusing on."

All that’s left now for OU before the NCAA Tournament is to find out its seed and who will head to Norman for next weekend’s NCAA Regional. 

The entire field for the tournament will be announced during the selection show, which gets underway Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. 

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Ryan Chapman


Ryan is deputy editor at AllSooners and covers a number of sports in and around Norman and Oklahoma City. Working both as a journalist and a sports talk radio host, Ryan has covered the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, the Oklahoma City Energy and more. Since 2019, Ryan has simultaneously pursued a career as both a writer and a sports talk radio host, working for the Flagship for Oklahoma sports, 107.7 The Franchise, as well as AllSooners.com. Ryan serves as a contributor to The Franchise’s website, TheFranchiseOK.com, which was recognized as having the “Best Website” in 2022 by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Ryan holds an associate’s degree in Journalism from Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, OK.