Tracy Bunge sounded more like a drama queen than Kansas University's softball coach.
"That was probably one of the best college softball games I've seen or been a part of," a bubbly Bunge said after KU edged Oklahoma, 5-4, in nine innings Saturday at Arrocha Ballpark.
Both teams rode emotional teeter-totters, but it was Jessica Moppin's two-out, two-strike ground single up the middle that enabled KU to knock off the Sooners for only the second time in their last 19 meetings.
Moppin's seeing-eye grounder off reliever Jadyn Smith scored Nicole Washburn from third and capped a career day for the junior second baseman from Olathe. Moppin's first four-hit game also featured a two-run home run off OU starter Kami Keiter in the first inning.
"It's been hard this season because we've outhit so many teams and come up short," Moppin said, "so this is really awesome, especially because we came back."
Kansas was two outs away from a 2-1 victory in the top of the seventh. KU freshman left-hander Christina Ross had limited the Sooners to four hits to that point. But then Tayl'r Hollis, OU's No. 9 hitter, drilled a line drive that barely cleared the fence inside the right-field foul pole and knotted the score at 2.
"The pitch was a little flat and outside," Ross said. "I was hoping it would go foul, but obviously it didn't."
Ross avoided further damage, and, after KU failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, Ross surrendered a pair of runs in the eighth, including a solo homer by catcher Heather Scaglione.
Now trailing 4-2, Kansas began its eighth with a Moppin single to right. Minutes later, after Destiny Frankenstein had lined out, Serena Settlemier launched a moon shot into a stiff breeze, and the ball eventually landed behind the 220-foot sign in left-center field.
"That was like a bomb," Ross said.
Settlemier sounded a little sheepish afterward about her game-tying blast.
"The last few games, I've been a sucker for a high pitch," the junior pitcher and designated hitter said. "That was a high rise ball, and I probably shouldn't have swung at it."
Because Settlemier did, the game went to the ninth inning, and she went to the mound to relieve Ross.
"Christina did a super job," Bunge said. "She hung two pitches, and those were the two they hit out."
Settlemier retired the Sooners in order to set the stage for Moppin's heroics. Washburn led off the ninth with a single against OU reliever Stacy Braddock, advanced to second on Heather Stanley's sacrifice bunt, then to third when Jackie Vasquez grounded out.
At that stage, OU coach Patty Russo inserted Smith to face Moppin. Quickly, Smith made her look bad swinging at a couple of change-ups.
"I was really early on the first two," Moppin said, "but my guess was she would go low and out on the next one, and she did."
Kansas climbed to 21-19 overall and 4-7 in the Big 12. Oklahoma slipped to 42-11 and 10-4. The final game of the two-game set is scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
"We'll celebrate tonight," Moppin said, "but we've got to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow."