On Sunday, Wisconsin proved it deserves consideration as one of the best softball teams in the country as it upset No. 1 seed Oklahoma with a 2-1 win in Norman.
Top-ranked Oklahoma, riding a 41-game winning streak but only scored four runs against Wisconsin on Saturday in a no-hit win, was likely determined to strike big in the rematch and quickly clinch a berth in next week’s NCAA Super Regionals.
The Sooners couldn’t match Menz’s determination, however. After giving up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Sooner Sydney Romero, Wisconsin pitcher Kaitlyn Menz settled down and held the potent Oklahoma offense in check.
Menz’s effort gave Wisconsin an opportunity to play a little small ball in the sixth inning, as it manufactured two runs without the ball leaving the infield. Taylor Johnson started the inning with a four-pitch walk. After Stephanie Lombardo flew out, Oklahoma pitcher Giselle Juarez hit Lauren Foster with a pitch.
With two on with one out, Juarez uncorked a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third.
Caroline Hedgcock stepped in and executed a bunt squeeze to perfection. Taylor Johnson broke home and beat the throw to the plate to tie it up 1-1.
Then Jolie Fish grounded out to Juarez, who took the sure out at first while Foster scored.
To put this in context as noted by WKOW’s Alec Ausmus, it had been 43 innings since Oklahoma had surrendered a run in an NCAA regionals.
First run scored against Oklahoma in Regional play in 43 innings. https://t.co/6MBm6QuR6p— Alec Ausmus (@A_Twice27) May 19, 2019
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Menz faced the potent Sooner offense one more half inning. Up first was Eliyah Flores lined out to center after getting a hold of a fastball.
Then Grace Lyons, who struck out twice, bounced out to short on the first pitch.
With two away, Menz took on Romero once again. Romero made good contact, but fortunately it didn’t have the launch angle and stayed in the ball park for a single.
The winning run only made it to the plate, however, as Fale Aviu grounded out to short to finalize the unthinkable upset.
The Badgers have realized one miracle, and all it has to do is upset the best team in the country one more time to earn a spot in the Super Regionals. Menz will need to follow up with a similar performance for Wisconsin to have a chance.
Tune in at 4:25 p.m. CT to see if Wisconsin can advance to the NCAA Super Regionals!