Softball OU: Freshman pitcher Jordyn Ball passes early test against Tennessee | Sports

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Jordyn Bahl had many firsts in her young college career in Oklahoma’s game against Tennessee.

This is the first time she gives up a home run. His first run. It’s the first time she’s dropped out of a deserved race. This is the first time she has thrown extra innings. This is the first time she has delivered a hit per pitch.

But more than that, it was Bahl’s first time facing adversity while in the circle.

The freshman pitcher had been dominant in the circle early in the season and had yet to be tested the way she was against Tenneesse. Bahl started the game and threw three solid innings before the Volunteers started to figure it out.

After giving up the tying game in the fifth inning, Nicole May replaced Bahl in the circle, but, as a starter, Bahl was still available to come back. And that’s exactly what she did.

“It was like, ‘You know what, while we’re here, bring Jordy back,'” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “Let her feel what it’s like to shut down.”

Bahl had the same intensity in the dugout as on the mound. Gasso said that’s how she knew Bahl was ready to return.

Bahl’s performance wasn’t perfect when she came back into the game. She walked in the race which sent the game into extras. But it gave her the opportunity to show the kind of player she is.

The Sooners won the game 9-8 in extra innings. It was the biggest test for Bahl so far this season, and she passed it.

“She needed to get through adversity because she hadn’t been and just got through people,” Coleman said. “So it was really, really good to see her have diversity and be able to bounce back like that.”

In addition to everything on the field, there were thousands of people in the stands and behind the outfield fence watching the game, in an atmosphere not unlike the playoffs.

Along with delivering all those firsts in front of the big crowd, Bahl had 16 strikeouts in 8.1 innings in the circle — both season highs.

“I think that’s part of getting into womanhood collegially, throwing athletes into the fire and seeing what it looks like,” Gasso said. “And whether they succeed or not. They still experience what it feels like under intense pressure.

For Bahl, the high pressure moments are what make the sport fun. She recognizes the benefit of playing in close and challenging matches for herself and her teammates.

“I have no doubt that this will be the only time me and this team will face adversity the rest of the season,” Bahl said. “I think it’s good for us. This allows us to be honest. It reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do.

As for the rest of the team, the Sooners know they didn’t play their best at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Although they won the first three games by running rule, the overtime win over Tennessee and the 2-1 win over Utah — their closest of the season so far — some of the flaws of the OU have been revealed.

OU found ways to win those close games, but Gasso hoped to see more “courage” from his team.

“I asked our team, I always asked them ‘on a scale of 1 to 10, where do you think we played, like numbers,'” Gasso said. “They threw fives and sixes, which isn’t good enough. So we are, in my mind, underperforming.

After two tough-to-finish games last weekend, the Sooners have no one on the schedule until Monday, when OU plays its home opener against Minnesota. While OU could have found teams to play this weekend, Gasso said she preferred they had time off.

“What we need is practice time,” Gasso said. “So this week, for me, is much more valuable than playing against a team that we can run a rule that is not going to help us. We have to play against each other. I have to push them in the right direction.

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