OU softball takes series vs. BYU, trying to get the rhythm back

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo04/13/24


OU softball has its calming presence. There is no doubt you breathe just a little bit better knowing Kelly Maxwell is in the circle.

Maxwell brought it again. And at the plate? It was Alyssa Brito making sure OU didn’t drop its second consecutive Big 12 series.

There’s a lot to unpack with what’s going on right now, but the Sooners earned a 7-3 victory against visiting BYU on Saturday afternoon at Love’s Field.

“Proud. They were fighting,” Gasso said. “When things aren’t clicking on all cylinders, it can get really frustrating. You could see a little bit of that. A little more poise, more focus, fighting with two strikes, did a good job of that.

“That pitching staff. You can look at their numbers. It doesn’t matter. They were really keeping us off balance. We felt that. Our plans were better. We just talked about throwing punches and really fighting. I felt much better today.”

Outside of two home runs, you basically couldn’t ask for much more with Maxwell. She’s doing some heavy lifting right now.

If it feels like we’ve been saying that for the last month, you’re not wrong. Even with the big lead, head coach Patty Gasso didn’t feel confident to go to another arm.

Maxwell slowed down in the sixth and seventh and ended up throwing more than 100 pitches (113). But she has the trust and isn’t rattled.

Maxwell pitched all seven innings, allowing six hits with two walks and six strikeouts, finishing the game with her final punch out.

“I’m really proud of her,” Gasso said. “There were times when I didn’t know if she was feeling her best. Elite athletes just let that go. They don’t let it be an excuse. Kept getting after it and getting after it. I’m proud of that, great accomplishment for Kelly. The team stepped up for that. They heard about it later in the game and responded immediately.”

Then it was Brito bringing the bat. She started things with a two-run single with bases loaded in the bottom of the third. And did one better with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. Brito had three hits to go with her four RBIs.

A move to the seven-spot didn’t faze Brito.

“So I don’t really look where I am in the lineup, I’m just ready to go and compete each at-bat,” Brito said. “And I think that’s what’s so good about our team if we continue to go in that direction, no matter who’s in that lineup.

“I think today I really wanted to make adjustments as far as taking away the offspeed. I knew that was something that they were consistently going to against me. So honestly, just digging in finding an elevated pitch was what I was wanting and just hitting it hard. Not trying to press or do too much and just let it come as it is.”

Just like Thursday, a tight one was busted open in the bottom of the fifth. A 3-1 game turned into 7-1, and a near-record crowd of 4,507 could celebrate again.

The win made sure OU didn’t lose back-to-back series since 2004. The Sooners have not lost two series in a season since 2006.

Head coach Patty Gasso said Friday night about she wants to see the fight, wants to see her squad be tougher. It’s going to be a work in progress, it feels, but Maxwell’s domination certainly makes life a lot easier.

Now? See who else rises to the occasion for OU.

Up next

OU (38-4 overall, 15-3 Big 12) gets to stay in the state for a week. It will begin with a Tuesday night game vs. Tulsa in Oklahoma City. Then the Sooners host Houston for a three-game set from Friday-Sunday.

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