SHAWNEE – St. Gregory’s punched its ticket to the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament championship game with an unconventional walk-off win over USAO Friday afternoon at Firelake. The No. 3-ranked Cavaliers posted a 5-4 victory over the Drovers – their ninth consecutive win overall.
SGU (42-5) will face fourth-seeded Texas Wesleyan at 2 p.m. Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Lady Rams upset top-ranked Oklahoma City, 3-2, Friday to earn their title berth.
Tied at four in the seventh, SGU senior Otelia Ramirez induced a bases-loaded walk to end it. Ashli Hafford, who walked to lead off the frame, trotted in with the winning run.
That sequence ended a wild affair that featured seven runs over the final three innings. Up 2-1 in the fifth, the Cavs stretched their advantage to two on Sammy Leisinger’s RBI double. USAO responded with two in the sixth to tie it, but SGU went back on top in the bottom of the frame with Jessica Nelson’s run-scoring double down the right field line.
The Drovers didn’t go away, though, tying it in the top of the seventh on an infield single by Dani Warren. But with two outs and the bags full in the home half, Ramirez worked a 3-1 count before taking what proved to be the game-winning pitch high.
Bryn Houlton (15-2) picked up the win after giving up one earned run on six hits over a combined 3-1/3 innings. She started the game, was replaced in the second, and then returned in the sixth. Houlton struck out one.
Leisinger led SGU offensively with a 2-for-4 game. Nelson scored twice.
SGU last advanced to the SAC Tournament championship game in 2008 – an 8-0 loss to Oklahoma City. The Cavs won the tournament title in 2007 with a 10-0 decision over Northwestern Oklahoma State.