NORMAN — Entering Saturday night, Oregon State was the only team in the Norman Regional that had not yet taken its shot at Oklahoma.
The Beavers will get that chance Sunday afternoon after successfully working their way through the losers' bracket on Saturday by topping Lehigh 9-2 and Tulsa 2-1 in back-to-back games at the OU Softball Complex.
Oregon State (36-22) will need to beat the No. 4 Sooners (47-8) twice on their home field to advance to next week's Super Regional round. The first game is at 1 p.m., and an “if necessary” game will follow if the Beavers win the first contest.
The loss ends TU's season at 42-14 after winning the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles. Lehigh, the Patriot League champion, finished its season at 40-19 after going 0-2 in Regional play.
Much like Oregon State's wild 11-inning loss to TU the previous night, Saturday's matchup with the Golden Hurricane came down to the final inning. But this time, it was the Beavers who struck early and then fended off a late comeback attempt by TU.
Trailing 2-1 entering the seventh, TU's Shelby Blanton and Jessica Stoelke led off the inning with a double and walk, respectively, and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Cassidy Bowen. But neither of them scored, as Oregon State reliever Paige Hall struck out Julie Kernan and got Caitlin Everett to fly out to center to end the game.
“We had a great chance in the last inning and just couldn't pull it off,” TU coach John Bargfeldt said.
Said Oregon State shortstop Elizabeth Santana: “Every ball, every strike was just on edge. But we trusted that the pitcher was going to throw her best pitch, and we were going to field it to our best ability.”