Many things can be said about the storied Texas-Oklahoma rivalry. But don’t ever call it boring.
In an absolutely bizarre turn of events, No. 1 Oklahoma prevailed, 4-3, as the game-tying run was tagged out at the plate to end the game.
After the Longhorns grinded their way to extra innings, all they needed was some kind of break. Instead, it was the Sooners who caught the lucky bounces in both the top and the bottom of the eighth frame.
“We had just a couple of funky things happen,” Texas head coach Mike White said. “Just sometimes when things happen that way, it’s hard to stop it.”
The game-ending play was as strange as it was dramatic. Second baseman Janae Jefferson laid down a perfect two-out bunt with runners on first and second. The throw airmailed the first baseman and shortstop Kaitlyn Slack easily scored from second. Then, White sent right fielder MK Tedder home, and mayhem ensued.
Tedder came close to running into Oklahoma third baseman Sydney Romero while rounding third. Then, at the plate, Sooner catcher Lynnsie Elam caught the ball and tagged Tedder out while standing in the basepath. Despite White’s complaints, neither play was called obstruction, and the game was over.
“Either way, it would’ve been a close play, obstruction or no obstruction,” Tedder said. “I was just trying to give it my best shot.”
This play came after another odd play in the top of the inning. Tedder made an outstanding diving catch with two runners on, but the Oklahoma runner tagged up. Tedder threw from the ground, and the relay was late.
Yet Jefferson was convinced that the runner never tagged home. She jogged over to try and tag the runner as she was mobbed by her Sooner teammates, and in doing so, allowed another run to score.
The devastating finish extended Texas’ losing streak to Oklahoma, which now stands at 17 consecutive games. But the way they’ve battled this series, the Longhorns don’t see this as a weight on their shoulders anymore.
“We’re playing a great team,” White said. “You just can’t look at that. We don’t put any pressure on it.”
While the runs haven’t poured in for the Texas offense, getting back to the basics has allowed the team to fight back in close games. After they manufactured a run with a sacrifice bunt and a two-out single in the first, the Longhorns used a suicide squeeze to score the game-tying run in the sixth.
“We’ve showed a lot of heart and determination today,” pitcher Brooke Bolinger said. “I think it’s just get us ready for postseason, especially in the environment we had tonight.”
With 1,415 fans lining the stands of Red and Charline McCombs Field, good for seventh all-time in that ballpark, it truly was a postseason-like atmosphere. One of the best rivalries in college sports put on a show, but after all the drama, it was the words “boomer” and “sooner” that rang loud.