NORMAN, Okla. – No. 1 Oklahoma (51-4) used a seven-run sixth to open up a tight game and defeat No. 16-seed Texas A&M (42-17), 10-2 in six innings, Friday evening in the NCAA Norman Super Regional opener on ESPN.
A&M and OU will rematch tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN in the second game of the best-of-three series. An A&M victory in game two would force a third game, set for a 2 p.m. start on ESPN.
The Aggies battled throughout the game and came within one run of the Sooners before seven runs by OU in the bottom of the sixth ended the game in a walk-off run rule. Senior Meagan May and freshman Cali Lanphear each had solo home runs for A&M.
The Sooners drew first blood in the bottom of the first when a base hit through the right side sent a runner home from second for the 1-0 lead.
After the Aggies suffered five-straight strikeouts at the hands of OU ace Keilani Ricketts, junior Cassie Tysarczyk drew a four-pitch walk in the top of the second to become the first A&M runner on base.
OU added two more runs on a pair of doubles in the bottom of the inning to stretch to a 3-0 lead over A&M.
May took matters into her own hands and led off in the top of the third with a solo home run over left field to narrow the score to 3-1 in the Sooners’ favor. The blast was May’s fifth of the NCAA Tournament.
Lanphear used her 21st home run of the season to narrow the score to 3-2 in the top of the fourth. The solo shot cleared the complex over right to bring the Aggies within one run of the Sooners.
After a three-up, three-down top-of-the-fifth for A&M, OU loaded the bags in the bottom of the inning. A&M hurler Mel Dumezich worked the final batter of the half-inning to a full count before catching the OU hitter looking for the third out and the Aggie ace’s fifth strikeout of the day.
Junior Emily Albus had the Aggies’ first in-the-park hit of the day in the top of the sixth when she reached with a one-out infield single. The speedster was left stranded through the three-strikeout half-inning, however, and the Sooners maintained their one-run lead. Albus was just the second base runner of the day for A&M.
The match-up entered the bottom of the sixth with OU leading just 3-2, but the floodgates opened for the Sooners and the Aggies couldn’t stop the bleeding.
A leadoff walk and a pair of base hits loaded the bases as the second walk of the inning forced the 4-2 run home. Two more bases-loaded walks made the score 6-2 before a wild pitch sent the fourth run of the inning across the plate. With runners on second and third, Ricketts went yard over left for the 10-2 walk-off run-rule.
The Oklahoma hurler (30-1) earned her 30th win of the season after fanning 13 batters on the night and allowing two runs on three hits through five innings. Dumezich (27-9) suffered the loss after allowing eight earned runs on six hits and seven walks while fanning five.
The Aggies and Sooners will rematch tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional. An if-necessary game three is slated for a 2 p.m. start. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.