Going into Sunday’s regional championship, OU hadn’t lost a softball game since February 22nd, and early on it seemed like things would remain that way. Batting lead-off, Sydney Romero sent the first pitch she saw over the left field wall to give Oklahoma an early 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Wisconsin put the Sooners in unfamiliar territory in the top of the third when Kelly Welsh ran out a bunt single to record the first hit against OU’s pitching staff in the regional. Three batters later Kayla Konwent worked her way to a walk, giving the Badgers runners on first and second.
Mariah Lopez was able to work her way out of that jam and ended up pitching four and two-third shutout innings, where she allowed just two hits and struck out six batters before giving way to Shannon Saile in the fifth.
After Saile walked Taylor Johnson, in four pitches, to lead off the sixth inning, Gasso went to her bullpen again. This time it was Giselle Juarez taking the circle and, unlike Saturday, the Badgers went to small ball against her.
Laruen Foster was hit by a pitch and then both runners advanced on a double steal. A suicide squeeze by Caroline Hedgecock scored Johnson and then a sacrifice bunt put Wisconsin ahead, 2-1, when Foster crossed home plate.
Oklahoma couldn’t rally in the bottom of the seventh, despite getting Sydney Romero on. A Fale Aviu fly out sent the Badgers celebrating and the Sooners recouping after their 41-game winning streak came to a halt.
The two teams will now play a winner-take-all final game for the regional championship. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 pm (CT).