STILLWATER — Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma’s most dangerous hitter, was injured.
Kelsey Stevens, the Sooners’ undoubted ace, wasn’t at her best.
Runs didn’t come easily against Oklahoma State’s Simone Freeman, but OU got all it needed in the second inning.
The Cowgirls staged a late rally, but the No. 13 Sooners held on for a 5-4 win Saturday at Cowgirl Softball Stadium.
With that, OU (44-10, 15-2 Big 12) fought its way to an outright Big 12 championship and 11th consecutive win.
“With a lot of inexperienced players and new faces, it’s been really something I’ll always remember,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “This will be a special team to me for doing things I think a lot of people didn’t think they could.”
The lone damper on the Sooners’ championship party is Chamberlain, who injured her right knee after stealing second in the first inning. Gasso said Chamberlain’s status is unknown, but team trainers advised taking her out as a precaution. Chamberlain is only eight games removed from a back injury.
Her departure opened the door for left fielder Paris Townsend, who took Chamberlain’s spot in the order.
Townsend entered play hitting .092 in 65 career at-bats. The sophomore finished the day 2-for-2, including an RBI single in OU’s five-run second inning.
The Cowgirls (26-27, 5-12) helped extend that inning with a throwing error and misplayed bunt.
“They only hit one ball hard in that inning,” OSU coach Rich Wieligman said. “That's too good of a team. You can't give up outs against a team like that.”
Not dead yet, the Cowgirls strung together four runs in the fifth, including doubles from second baseman Ari Morrison and third baseman Tiffany Mikkelson.
Stevens (32-7) looked to be in top form until that point. With the pressure on, she regrouped and escaped the inning.
“I definitely felt a little more urgency toward the end,” Stevens said. “Not so much I let down, but I picked it up a little bit after that. I wanted to get out of there.”
After a scoreless sixth, Freeman had a chance to win it for OSU with a runner on and two outs in the seventh.
Freeman belted a fly ball to deep left, but Townsend caught it at the warning track to end the game.
It was far from OU’s most glamorous win. Stevens said that makes it a fitting way to seal the conference title.
“That’s kind of what we have going for us,” she said. “They’ve not really seen us coming, but we’re really hot right now, and I think that’s going to be great going into postseason.”
OU and OSU play again at 2 p.m. Sunday in Norman.