Tennessee Blanks OU 4-0 Forces If Game In Norman Super Regional Written By Bill Plummer
NORMAN, Okla –Sooner Magic never materialized and the OU softball team now needs to win the if necessary game Sunday at 2 p.m. to advance to the Women's College World Series for the fourth consecutive year after losing to the Tennessee Lady Vols, 4-0, before a standing-room only record crowd of 1,751 at Marita Hynes Field Saturday night in the Norman Super Regional. The if necessary game was originally scheduled to begin Saturday evening at 11:20 but the coaches agreed to play the third and deciding game on Sunday
The win was the first for the Lady Vols in the best-of-three series after the Sooners won 8-1 Friday night with a 10-hit attack against Lady Vol pitcher Ellen Renfroe. Saturday, Renfroe went the distance and allowed the Sooners only five singles in getting her 30th win of the season against only seven losses. Tennessee is seeking a seventh trip to the Women's College World Series.
Tennessee (46-11) managed only three hits off OU starter and losing hurler Kelsey Stevens, (36-8), but one of them was a line drive one-out homer over the left field fence by Megan Geer in the second inning on a 3-2 pitch. It was Geer's sixth homer of the year and gave the Lady Vols a 1-0 lead. It was the 26th homer allowed this season by Stevens.
Geer's homer came after the game was resumed after it was delayed for the second night in a row because of lightning. The game was stopped at 4:36 p.m. with OU's Erin Miller having a 1-0 count on her with two outs. When play resumed at 8:31 p.m. Miller eventually walked before Renfroe struck out Destinee Martinez looking to end the inning.
Renfroe finished with six strikeouts and only two walks in recording her 12th shutout of the season in ending OU's 16-game winning streak. The Sooners (48-11) were shutout for the first time since losing to Texas 9-0 April 18th and only the fourth time this season.
OU stranded seven batters including five in the first three innings as it was unable to mount any kind of offense against Renfroe, who had the Sooners popping up (six times) and hittng soft groundouts. Twice OU got runners to third base, in the first and third innings, and twice to second in the second and seventh innings when Sooners fans were hoping for the Sooner Magic which the Sooner softball team has h time and time again in coming from behind to win a game in recent years. It never developed, however, as Renfore thwarted a Sooner threat in the seventh when catcher Whitney Ellis walked to open the inning and got the next two batters before hitting Miller with a pitch to put runners on first and second, but she got Martinez to ground out to end the game.
The game should have been 1-0 going into the seventh but losing pitcher Stevens had control problems in the fifth inning when the Sooners intentionally walked Madison Shipman to load the bases. Stevens then walked Lexi Overstreet and catcher Annie Aldrete to score a pair of runs with the third and final run in the inning scoring on an error by OU shortstop Georgia Casey. The only hit in the inning was a double by Rainey Gaffin.
Stevens hurled five innings before Shelby Pendley came on in the sixth to finish the game. Stevens walked three and hurled 92 pitches while Refroe hurled 111 pitches in her route-going performance. Pendley had two of OU's five hits.
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