Four Homers Propel OU to 7-0 Victory
NORMAN – Four players homered while Giselle Juarez and Shannon Saile combined on a one-hitter to lead the No. 3/3 Oklahoma softball team to a 7-0 victory over RV/No. 25 Northwestern on Friday night at Marita Hynes Field.
With the win, the Sooners (17-2) extended their home winning streak to 38 games, good for the second-longest run in program history.
"(Tonight) was very well played all the way around," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "Good pitching, very strong hitting — whether it started in the first or the fourth, it really doesn't matter, as long as it gets started. And, I thought the defense was really good... I thought it was probably one of our best-played games this season."
In the circle, Juarez improved to 7-0 on the year by allowing just one hit over 5.0 innings while striking out six and walking one.
Entering the weekend ranked second nationally in strikeouts per seven innings, Saile fanned five of the six batters she faced over the final 2.0 frames.
The Sooner offense was powered by home runs from freshman Grace Lyons and seniors Sydney Romero, Shay Knighten and Kylie Lundberg.
Lyons finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI, and Lundberg's three-run homer led to her first multi-RBI game of the season.
Lyons kick started OU's bats, crushing a solo home run to center for OU's first hit of the night in the bottom of the third. It was good for the fourth home run of her collegiate career and her first at Marita Hynes Field.
The next two Sooner hits left the park, too, as Romero and Knighten led off the fourth with back-to-back home runs. It was the second time this season the Sooners hit consecutive blasts, with Romero combining with Jocelyn Alo against Hofstra on Feb. 16.
Falepolima Aviu and Nicole Mendes then strung together a pair of hits before Lundberg entered the contest as a pinch hitter. She crushed her second career home run to right field to double the Sooner lead to 6-0.
At the end of the sixth, a throwing error by the Wildcats (15-5) gave Lyons the space to reach home and cap a six-run inning for the Sooners.
"They did a good job of changing their plan a little bit, making a few adjustments... and they just squared it up," Gasso said of her team's performance in the fourth. "Knowing Northwestern and their history this far this season, they're a well-defined team with very good pitching, so it looked like it was just going to be a pitching duel. With Grace opening it up and Syd just absolutely squaring up on that ball, it just became somewhat infectious."
This weekend's tournament continues on Saturday as OU takes on Drake (1 p.m.) and GCU (6 p.m.).