Sweep of Kansas Sends Sooners into First Place
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 10/8 Oklahoma (38-7, 9-0 Big 12) completed a three-game sweep at Kansas (21-22, 3-3) with a 6-2 victory Saturday.
The win, coupled with an Oklahoma State loss, puts the Sooners in first place in the Big 12 with a 9-0 conference record. It’s the fifth time in program history OU has won its first nine league games, which is the best undefeated start to league play in school history.
Oklahoma has won 15 straight games overall and extended its school record win streaks for road games to 21 and Big 12 contests to 24.
The Sooners had 10 hits, their 17th game this year with at least that many.
Sophomore Caleigh Clifton led the way by going 3-4 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. It was her fourth game this year with at least three hits, ranking second on the team behind freshman Nicole Mendes’ five three-hit efforts. Junior Nicole Pendley also had a multi-hit game with a 2-3 performance that included two runs batted in.
Junior Paige Lowary logged her fourth complete game of the year as she improved her record to 10-1. She gave up two runs on three hits and one walk while striking out three. After giving up a two-out single in the first inning, she retired the next 13 batters until a leadoff walk in the sixth. She also fielded her position well, recording five assists in the game.
Over her last 36.2 innings, covering 11 appearances, Lowary has given up just three earned runs for a 0.57 earned run average.
Like they had done in each of the first two games of the series, the Sooners scored the game’s first runs.
Sophomore Caleigh Clifton reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a groundout. Fellow sophomore Sydney Romero batted next and hit a grounder up the middle that was stopped by Taylor McElhaney on a diving effort. Clifton kept running on the play after reaching third, forcing a throw home by McElhaney. The ball beat Clifton to the plate by several feet, but she was able to dive around the tag and touch the plate safely with the game’s opening run.
A single from sophomore Fale Aviu kept the inning going and advanced Romero to third, while Pendley drove her in with an infield single.
Neither team had a baserunner over the next three innings, but OU managed to add to its lead in the fifth.
Junior Kelsey Arnold led off with an infield single to third base. Back-to-back groundouts got Arnold to third, while Clifton extended Oklahoma’s lead to 3-0 with a single off the glove of Kansas starter Alexis Reid.
Two more runs came in during the sixth.
Aviu drew a one-out walked and was replaced by pinch runner Raegan Rogers. The upgrade in speed paid off as Pendley pulled a triple into the right field corner and Rogers raced home from first with Oklahoma’s fourth run of the game. Mendes then drove her Pendley with a chopper back up the middle.
Kansas finally got on the board in the bottom of the frame on a two-run double by Jessie Roane, but sophomore Shay Knighten added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with a run-scoring double.
The hit extended Knighten’s hitting streak to nine games, matching a career long. She has also driven in a run in 14 straight games and reached safely in each of the past 16 contests, matching Mendes in the latter category for the longest active streak on the team.
Oklahoma steps out of conference on Tuesday for a makeup game at North Texas at 6 p.m. Next weekend, Baylor (8-1 in league play) comes to Norman in a matchup for first place in the Big 12.