NORMAN – After accumulating a series of 41 consecutive wins in a season in Division I, Oklahoma's best softball team was suddenly found only seven rounds of the playoff elimination of the tournament. NCAA Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Patty Gasso admitted that the Sooners had their backs stuck to the wall, that's precisely what his team needed after three complete months passed without losing.
Wisconsin pushed OR to the brink of elimination with a 2-1 loss to the top-ranked, top-ranked regional hosts in Sunday's opening game to force a seventh game at Norman Regional de Marita Hynes Field.
In one fell swoop, the Badgers not only ended the OUA 's 41 – wins streak, they also put an end to the home – away Sooners' 49 win streak and offered to the 39: A left-handed Giselle Juarez's first loss of the season after building a record 24-0 record.
"It's not that we've planned this this way, but I think it worked well for us because we just got a little flat," said Gasso about his team. , which had not lost since Feb. 22 against No. 2 UCLA. "When you have your back against the wall, it's a character creator. Or you are going to be where you are not. You will be afraid of losing or you will play to win. "
OU (52-3) responded with a 2-0 win over Wisconsin (43-14) in the regional final to conquer all to qualify for Norman's Super Regional next weekend at Norman, against winner of the Evanston-Louisville-Northwestern Regional.
"I thought Wisconsin had taught us a very useful lesson on how to play for free and how to win to win," Gasso said. "Whoever can give us a lesson, we will take it. We are humble enough to know that there are things to learn about the game. "
The only way to question the Sooners' resilience was to defeat, which meant a series of strikes that were obvious.
"We are happy to stop talking about this series of victories," said Gasso. "Having your back to the wall right now is probably the most precious thing that has happened to us all season."
The Sooners took a 1-0 lead early in the third when receiver Lynnsie Elam opened with a double in the center on the right. Raegan Rogers played for Elam and finally scored the goal of the player of the year sacrifice, Sydney Romero, on rough terrain taken along the barrier along the line of third base.
OU won 2-0 at base goalkeeper Grace Green's fourth base goal on the left.
Right-handed junior Kaitlyn Menz (21-9) presented two full-set games against the Sooners on Sunday, allowing only nine hits and three runs, then eight of his 14 innings and 193 shots.
"She was phenomenal," Green said of Menz, who constantly kept the unbalanced Western threshers by mixing a white ball and a change with his fastball. "Pitching two games like that blows me."
There was a 40-minute break between games and the Sooners were doing their best to cheer up by playing music, dancing and eating sandwiches in their locker room. "We were just trying to put ourselves in a good mood to get ready for this game," said Green. "Have fun and shoot all our arrows, work as hard as you can and do not support. Play to win and not fear anything. "
The Sooners make their 10th consecutive appearance in the Super Region and seek their 13th Apparition of WCWS in this millennium.
OR participated in the NCAA tournament during the 25 seasons under Gasso, plus the season preceding his arrival. Only Arizona has a longer streak of 32 consecutive wins and the Sooners are tied with Washington for the second run.
This is the second time that OU is the # 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The previous time was in 2013 when the Sooners won their second national title.
The UO entered the tournament at the top of the country averaging batting (.365), average of the number of points won (1.15), percentage of playoff (.986), number of circuits produced by match (1.90), base percentage (.456), shutouts (23), slugging percentage (.675), stopping rate (6.87) and winning / winning percentage (.961).