Sooners fall in series finale to UT

NORMAN, Okla. — The No. 4 Sooners fell short of a sweep and will have to settle for a series victory, as they fell 12-5 to the eighth-ranked Texas Longhorns in Sunday's series finale at Marita Hynes Field.

"I don't feel too frustrated," said OU head coach Patty Gasso. "I mean, we are a team that loves to win and wants to win and we compete and I appreciate what we put out there. I know that we have the capability of doing that. I told the team in the locker room that they deserve a mulligan and they just took it. We got one, we used it and it's done."

Texas took an early lead for the third time in the series and again eventually gave it up.

After the Longhorns scored one in the second and two in the third to leap out to a 3-0 advantage, OU cut into it when catcher Jessica Schultz smashed a homer over the wall in dead center, a solo shot in the bottom of the third.

Texas catcher Mandy Ogle countered and made it 4-1 with an RBI single the following inning.

But the Sooners had an answer, a big one.

In the bottom of the fifth, Texas pitcher Blaire Luna loaded the bases and gave up a run on a hit, followed by three consecutive walks.

That chased her after five innings plus, but the major damage was yet to be done.

Second baseman Georgia Casey greeted new pitcher Rachel Fox with a two-run double to right, tying the game.

Pinch hitter Katie Norris then ripped an RBI single to left, giving OU its first lead of the day at 5-4.

It would be short lived.

That's because Texas had a bigger answer the next half inning.

The Longhorns tagged relief pitcher Keilani Ricketts for eight runs in the top of the sixth, raising her season ERA from 0.98 to 1.14.

It all started with an illegal pitch that would have been the second out of the inning, but gave Ogle a second chance at the plate. She singled, and then the floodgates opened.

"Like I think I was just trying to focus on not having it bother me because I've had a deal through the past just trying to get my feet right with the pitches," Ricketts said. "But, you know, Texas is just a tough team, especially offensively and I just needed to make my pitches better."

Right fielder Taylor Hoagland hammered a three-run homer, and second baseman Lexy Bennett followed up with one of her own for back-to-back jacks.

Texas led 8-5 at the time and went on to score four more in the inning en route to handing Ricketts just her seventh loss of the season to 26 victories.

The Sooners (42-8) fall to 16-5 in the Big 12 but still control their own destiny and need just one more victory to win the Big 12 Championship.

"I mean, things kind of work out pretty good for us because right now, we start finals tomorrow," Gasso said. "So, I know they have a little bit of that on their mind and they can use this week to just really focus on that and then we can exhale and we can get out to Iowa State and if we deserve to win the Big 12 Championship, we've got to go to Ames and we've got to do it. Bottom line, so if we deserve it, we're gonna earn it."

They'll get back to action when they head north to finish the regular season with a three-game series against the Cyclones starting at 4 p.m. CT Friday.

Postgame press conference:

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