By Michael Kinney
With a chance to earn a spot in the Super Regionals, all No. 1 Oklahoma needed to do was knock out a scrappy Wisconsin squad. The same Badgers they had beaten in the Regional opener Friday.
However, UW had other plans. They came up with their second dramatic victory in less than 24 hours as they came back to win 2-1 Sunday afternoon.
The loss ends the Sooners win streak at 41 games. It also forces a winner take all game, which is scheduled for 4:20 p.m. at Marita Hynes Field.
The Sooners Sydney Romero began the afternoon with a solo homer over the left field fence. It gave OU a 1-0 advantage.
After two strong innings, Oklahoma’s Mariah Lopez allowed her first hit of the game to start the third inning. It was the first hit the Sooners had surrendered in the regional tournament after 14 straight innings of no-hit ball.
Despite that, Lopez was on her game and shutout Wisconsin over four innings before she was pulled in the fifth and replaced by reliever Shannon Saile.
Kaitlyn Menz was also on the mound dealing for the Badgers. After the homerun to start the game, she settled down and kept the Sooners off-balance through four innings.
But in the fifth the Sooners began to get things working. Falepolima Aviu and Caleigh Clifton reached base on with singles. Jocelyn Alo came to bat with two outs on the board.
After a meeting at the mound, UW coach Yvette Kelly kept Menz in the game. She was rewarded by Menz who got Alo to fly out to right field. OU’s lead stayed 1-0.
With just two innings left in the game, OU coach Patty Gasso brought Giselle Juarez off the bench to get the final six outs of the game.
With a runner on, Juarez hit a UW batter. The Badgers then pulled off the double steal, which put the go-ahead run at second base.
Wisconsin’s Caroline Hedgecock laid down the perfect bunt, which scored Taylor Johnson and tied the game. That was the first hit and run Juarez had allowed in the regional tourney.
Wisconsin’s Jolie Fish then laid down a sacrifice bunt and another run scored to give the Badgers their first lead.
That would be all Menz needed as she shutout the Sooners the rest of the game.
Juarez (24-1) picked up her first loss of the season while Menz moved to 21-8.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Copy Writer