NORMAN — The Oklahoma softball team advanced to Sunday’s regional final after using a seventh-inning rally Saturday to stun Texas A&M, 9-8, on Marita Hynes Field.
“It’s a team that continues to shock me and the rest of you out there as to what they’re capable of doing,” said OU coach Patty Gasso. “As long as they have one strike left in their arsenal, they’re gonna do it.”
The Sooners will either face Hofstra or get a rematch with Texas A&M on Sunday at 1 p.m. Hofstra and the Aggies played late Saturday for a regional final berth.
Oklahoma led Texas A&M 4-0 Saturday after the third inning, when juniors Shelby Pendley and Lauren Chamberlain blasted back-to-back home runs and knocked Aggies starter Rachel Fox out of the game.
After both teams went scoreless in the fourth inning, Texas A&M pulled within one of the Sooners with Amber Garza’s three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning.
The Aggies loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning with one out, and Gasso sent Pendley to the circle in relief of starting pitcher Kelsey Stevens.
On Pendley’s first pitch, though, Texas A&M pinch hitter Cali Lanphear crushed a grand slam over the fence that gave the Aggies a 7-4 lead.
“Give credit to that hitter,” Pendley said. “It was an inside drop. I put it where it was supposed to go. She just got the barrel to it and hit it over.”
Pendley and senior Brittany Williams each homered for the Sooners in the bottom of the sixth, but the Aggies added another run in the top of the seventh to take an 8-6 lead.
Chamberlain came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the inning, but lined out, bringing the Sooners within one out of a loss.
Williams hit a seemingly routine ground ball to first base, but the Aggies’ Jenna Stark bobbled it, allowing Williams to reach first and the tying run to score.
But with the Texas A&M infield’s attention focused on first base, speedy OU senior Destinee Martinez rounded third and slid into home for the game-winning run.
“What a heads-up play by Destinee Martinez,” Gasso said. “We had just tied the game, so why not?
“Everybody kinda turning their back to home plate allowed it to happen. That was a really heads-up, aggressive baserunning decision.”