A nine-run second inning is all the No. 1 ranked University of Oklahoma Sooners needed to topple the Bulldogs for a second straight time on Saturday night in what wound up being the final evening of the 2023 Bulldog Invitational. 

OU batted around in the top half of the second inning for the only steady offensive production the team flashed all night, but it was plenty when paired with the pitching efforts of Jordy Bahl, Alex Storkado and Kierston Deal. The Sooner gunslingers allowed three earned runs between the trio for the 9-3 victory. 

The Bulldogs went deep into the bullpen until they found something that worked in the form of Matalasi Faapito. Over the course of three innings she totaled four strikeouts  one more than the rest of the MSU staff racked up combined.

Faapito felt comfortable at the dish, and it showed. 

"Honestly, I was feeling really good," said Faapito. "I just knew that I needed to go in there smiling, just having a good time, and usually when I'm like that, when I play loose, I pitch the best."

The 13th largest crowd in Nusz Park history was on hand with 1,284 fans in attendance, many of which were Sooner faithful.  

The final game of the weekend for MSU saw the team in a nail-biting tilt with Omaha, where the two squads stayed tied for most of the affair. Josey Marron started on the rubber for MSU and performed well over the course of five innings. She racked up six strikeouts and only one earned run before Reis Beuerlein came in for the relief effort. 

For the second time in as many weeks, Chloe Malau'ulu proved why she's the leader of this Bulldog softball squad in walk-off fashion. A seventh inning double drove in Brylie St. Clair to secure the win for MSU off the bat of Malau'ulu, helping MSU bounce back from a tough pair of losses at the hands of OU. 

"I kind of got up there and I already had an idea that I was going to get a hit," said Malau'ulu. "I'm just going to get a hit, because [anything to] the right side's going to score, and that's what we needed."

MSU Head coach Samantha Ricketts sounded off what her team needed to bounce back after the pair of losses. 

"It's good to get the win," said Ricketts. "I liked the way we responded. You know, we knew, coming off an intense first game of the day that we were going to have to find a way to refocus and refocus quickly, and I think that definitely showed in the first inning."

With an 18-7 record, the Bulldogs have been battle tested in their non-conference schedule. 

"There's a reason that we scheduled two games against Oklahoma. There's a reason that we scheduled in now ... I just think there's been so much growth, and that's why we continue to do it."

MSU will face off against Purdue for their next matchup this Wednesday, during spring break, at Nusz Park. First pitch is at 4 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN Plus. 

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