Mendes Homers, Combines on Bedlam No-Hitter
STILLWATER, Okla. – Freshman Nicole Mendes accounted for the only run with a solo homer in the sixth inning, and she combined with junior Paige Lowary on a no-hitter as No. 6/7 Oklahoma (47-8, 17-1 Big 12) finished the regular season with a Bedlam sweep of Oklahoma State (33-22, 12-6) in a 1-0 win Saturday.
The no-hitter was the 49th in program history, and second of the season for OU, but just the third ever that was a combined effort. The only other instances came on May 15, 2015 when Paige Parker and Kelsey Stevens did it against Central Arkansas in the NCAA Regional and on Feb. 17, 2001, when Jennifer Stewart and Adrianne Ratliff no-hit Creighton.
Saturday was also just the second no-hitter ever thrown against Oklahoma State by OU. It was previously done by Keilani Ricketts on May 12, 2013 in Stillwater.
Mendes made just the second start of her career in the circle and pitched the first 2.2 innings. She walked the leadoff batter and gave up a fielder's choice to the No. 2 hitter but did not allow another runner to reach base.
Lowary entered with two outs in the third and pitched the final 4.1 innings to record the win and improve to 13-2 on the season. She walked the leadoff batter in the fourth but did not allow another baserunner the rest of the way, retiring the final 11 batters of the game. Lowary finished with three strikeouts in the first no-hitter she was a part of in her collegiate career.
The game was scoreless through five innings until Mendes hit a one-out home run to left center. It was her third of the year and extended her hitting streak to 12 games (a career best) and her on-base streak to 26 contests (the longest by a Sooner this year).
Mendes' homer was one of five hits on the day for OU. Junior Nicole Pendley and sophomores Caleigh Clifton, Shay Knighten and Fale Aviu all recorded singles on the day.
Oklahoma State only got one runner to second base during the game, and it turned out to be the first batter of the game. Rylee Bayless draw a leadoff walk against Mendes and stole second, but she was thrown out trying to move to third on a comebacker to Mendes in the circle.
The Cowgirls' only other baserunner came in the fourth when Alex Edinger drew a leadoff walk against Mendes. Lowary struck out Vanessa Shippy for the first out, while Kristin Reasnor followed with a fly ball to shallow center field. Pendley made the easy catch and threw back to first base to double off Edinger, who was off the pitch, slid into second and was unable to get back to first in time.
Reasnor's flyout to center proved to be the only ball to leave the infield against Lowary as she got a pair of lineouts and six groundouts to go with her pair of strikeouts.
With its 17-1 league record, OU matched last year's mark for the best conference record in program history.
OU has won 16 straight over OSU, outscoring the Cowgirls 99-17 in the process. Oklahoma has also won 26 straight road games overall and 20 consecutive road games within league play, extending their program record in each category.
Oklahoma has earned the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Championship, which starts Friday. OU's first game will be at 2 p.m. against fourth-seeded Texas, while the second game will be at 7 p.m. against the No. 6 seed, which will be either Kansas or Texas Tech.