Three errors weren’t OU softball’s only mistakes in streak-busting loss to Louisiana

Three errors weren’t OU softball’s only mistakes in streak-busting loss to Louisiana

‘We are human,’ OU softball coach Patty Gasso said Sunday, but during the Sooners’ 71-game winning streak, they made us believe they were superhuman.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Mar 3, 2024, 6:55pm CST

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Mar 3, 2024, 6:55pm CST

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The stat sheet indicated OU committed three errors in a streak-ending, gut-wrenching loss to Louisiana on Sunday afternoon.

Trouble is, the Sooners had way more mistakes than that.

Three errors are bad enough — it’s been almost three years since OU had that many errors in a single game — but those were just some of the miscues that ended up costing the Sooners and ending the longest winning streak in NCAA softball history.

Louisiana 7, OU 5 in eight innings.

“We are human,” Sooner coach Patty Gasso said when asked what went wrong. “We are human beings.

“That’s what happened today.”

As someone who works in a business where perfection is expected — every fact needs to be correct, every word needs to be right — I understand the imperfection of humans. We can strive for perfection, we can come extremely close, but in the end, we are fallible, so we are going to make mistakes.

But over these past few years, including during a 71-game winning streak, the Sooners have made us believe they are beyond that. We thought they were playing on a higher plain. We believed they had tapped into a superhuman realm. 

They have so rarely shot themselves in the foot.

Sunday afternoon, however, they did so repeatedly, and it wasn’t just the fielding errors. 

There were a variety of mistakes. 

In the top of the fourth, Louisiana got a leadoff single, but OU starter Kelly Maxwell got a pop-up, then centerfielder Jayda Coleman threw a strike to third for an out after Kinzie Hansen threw the ball into the outfield as a runner attempted to steal second. 

But rather than ride that momentum and get out of the inning, Maxwell walked a batter on four consecutive pitches. That mistake opened the door a crack for Louisiana, and the Ragin’ Cajuns busted through with back-to-back singles to score a run.

Maxwell gave way to Karlie Keeney, who promptly got behind on the first two batters she faced, ended up walking both of them and forced in another run.

More mistakes that proved costly.

The pitchers and the defense weren’t the only ones struggling. There were miscues on offense, too.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, for example, OU started the frame with Hansen drawing a walk, then Rylie Boone getting on with a bunt. Runners on first and second. No one out. Seemed like a great time for a rally.

But when Hansen led a little too far off the bag, Louisiana threw to second and caught her in a rundown, eventually tagging her out.

Boone scurried to second, so OU had a runner on second with one out, which wasn’t terrible.

But it wasn’t as good as two runners on with no out.

The Sooners ended up getting no runs that inning.

But for all the mistakes of the early innings, OU made its most egregious miscues in crunch time, when the Sooners are usually at their best. They committed three errors in the last two innings of the game, two in the seventh and one in the eighth.

Those were their fifth, sixth and seventh errors of the season.

A season ago, OU didn’t commit its seventh error until April 1.

What’s more, the errors were made by three of OU’s most talented, most experienced players: Tiare Jennings, Kinzie Hansen and Alyssa Brito. In high-pressure moments, those are the players who you want in the crosshairs because you know they can do the job.

Sunday, they didn’t.

The errors in the seventh led to a Louisiana run and gave the Ragin Cajuns a two-run lead. The Sooners were able to rally for two runs in their half of the inning to force extra innings.

But the error in the eighth helped open the floodgates for three Louisiana runs. The OU bats were not able to overcome that.

A quick aside: Louisiana should be celebrated for the way it played. It put lots of balls in play, forcing OU to make plays, and it got a complete-game, 136-pitch victory from pitcher Chloe Riassetto. 

“They played well,” Gasso said. “They pitched well. They hit the ball hard.”

The way OU played doesn’t diminish the way Louisiana played.

But the way OU played should be disappointing to the Sooners. They were their own worst enemies Sunday. They made mistakes and miscues that were uncharacteristic. They committed unexpected errors. 

“We knew a game like this would be coming at some time,” Gasso said. “I don’t know that we were ready to have it happen here.

“This was a game we didn’t deserve to win.”

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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