Cowgirls Advance to Super Regional With Wild Win
Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:25 pm
By: News On 6
Originally Published: May 22, 2011 3:37 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn – The Oklahoma State softball team fought through a wild finish to beat Tennessee 6-5 Sunday, win its Regional bracket and advance to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time in school history.
OSU carried a 6-4 lead into the seventh inning, but Tennessee quickly began a scoring threat. The Volunteers started the inning with a walk and a single, putting the potential tying run on base with nobody out.
The next at-bat advanced both runners, putting the tying run in scoring position. Jessica Spigner followed with a sacrifice fly to score one of the runs and close the gap to one, but the tying run remained on second with two outs.
Lauren Gibson ripped the first pitch of her at-bat into left field, and the runner rounded third and raced home. But left fielder Tamara Brown came up firing, and threw a dart to cut down the tying run at the plate and win the game.
The thrilling finish came after OSU allowed Tennessee to eliminate an early lead.
The Cowgirls scored the first three runs of the game and seemed to be in control, but Tennessee began mounting a comeback in the fourth inning. Madison Shipman delivered an RBI double to put the Lady Vols on the board and cut the lead to 3-1.
Tennessee followed that with a big fifth inning, starting with a lead-off home run by Shelby Burchell. Kat Dotson then delivered a clutch single with two outs that drove two runs home and gave the Volunteers their first lead of the game at 4-3.
OSU responded in the bottom of the sixth with a big inning of its own. The first three batters of the frame all reached, loading the bases with nobody out. Tarah Ettinger took advantage with a two-run double, and a third run scored on the play thanks to a throwing error. That final run ended up being the game winner.
Kat Espinosa had a strong start for OSU on the mound, but finished with a no decision after being pulled in the fifth inning. Sarah Odom pitched the final three innings and gave up three runs on five hits, but still secured a win.
The victory will advance the Cowgirls to the Super Regional, where they will host Houston. The Cougars beat Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1 Sunday to finish their Regional round undefeated, which included an upset over No. 3 seed Texas.