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June 5, 2013

Sooners lift softball title for their 'HOME'

OKLAHOMA CITY —

The scene that many in college softball have been predicting played out in front of a crowd of 8,500-plus at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium Tuesday night when Oklahoma University lifted its second ever national title in the sport.

With signs shaped like Oklahoma emblazoned with the word "HOME" as they celebrated on the field, the Sooners made it very clear to whom they were dedicating the historic win.

"We had a lot of people we wanted to give pride to and make happy," head coach Patty Gasso said. 

After a 12-inning marathon game against opponents Tennessee on Monday night, during which Oklahoma came from behind to win 5-3, Tuesday's game two in the best-of-three series was more mild mannered as OU took the crown 4-0. Both teams made changes to their lineups to compensate for tired arms and legs. 

The Sooners opted to switch starting pitcher and ASA Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts out for fellow senior Michelle Gascoigne, which turned out to be perfect. In what has to be considered the biggest performance of her career, Gascoigne struck out 12 batters, let up only three hits and did not record a single walk.

"I only found out about three hours before the game," Gascoigne said. "I was just excited. Knowing Keilani was all for it and was supporting me brought me all of the confidence in the world. I know my teammates trust me, and that has carried me forward all year."

The lack of Ricketts' influence on the mound was made up for by her performance at the plate. Staying true to their theme of magic third innings, the Sooners exploded in the third frame that started with a Lauren Chamberlain single after 

Brianna Turang was walked by Lady Vols starting pitcher Ivy Renfroe. 

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