It’s official, the Oklahoma Sooners are the 2018 Big 12 Tournament Champions marking the sixth time the program has claimed the title. Completing the sweep of the league, Patty Gasso’s ball club weathered the storm before defeating the Baylor Bears 6-4 in the Championship Game. With the win, OU now stands 21-0 against conference foes and hopes to pick up more momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Expecting a tight bout, the defending National Champions looked to take control of the game early. Putting two runners in scoring position, Nicole Pendley stepped up to the plate. Taking a swing, the outfielder connected sending the ball deep into center field. Colliding with the wall, the ball fell to the ground as Jocelyn Alo and Shay Knighten raced home. Crossing the plate, the Sooners seized a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Bears would cut the lead in half on an RBI-single in the top of the third inning. Yet, the base runner may have gotten greedy and was thrown out attempting to advance to second.
Extending the lead once again, Pendley’s experience in the biggest moments paid dividends. Finding herself in a similar situation as the one previously faced, the center fielder stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second. Reading the pitch, Pendley made a decision. Driving the ball deep and over the wall, the senior was responsible for the first five runs of the game for Oklahoma. Now sporting a 5-1 lead, it appeared as though OU would cruise to another win and the Big 12 Title.
WATCH: home run No. 13 of the season for Pendley! pic.twitter.com/g1Efh1rDrG
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) May 12, 2018
But, Baylor had a few plans of their own. Playing the role of spoiler, Kyla Walker recorded a triple to score a run in the top of the sixth inning. Pushing another run across the plate on a fielder’s choice, the threat became real at 5-3 and charging. An RBI-single cut the lead to one and put runners on the corners as the Bears looked to take the lead. However, a ground out ended the threat and effectively the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sydney Romero hit a sky ball toward right field. Tracking the ball in the sun, it was lost as it dropped to the turf. The error allowed a runner to cross giving Oklahoma a manageable 6-4 margin with one inning remaining.
Leaning on Paige Lowary, the lefty delivered the victory. Now both programs await their fate in the NCAA Tournament. Could the two meet once again in Oklahoma City?