Sooners Set for Home Opener

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 27, 2014
 No. 20/13 OU (10-5) at Spring Preview Tournament
 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
 DH: Friday, Feb. 28, 3:30 p.m. CT
 vs. #16/15 Nebraska  DH: Saturday, March 1, 12:00 p.m. CT
 Location  Norman, Okla. | Marita Hynes Field
 Live Stats
 Live Webcast ($)
 Game Info  Tickets | Game Notes | Twitter

The No. 20/13 Oklahoma softball team (10-5) opens the home portion of its 2014 schedule this weekend with doubleheaders against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6) and No. 16/15 Nebraska (9-5). The first 1,000 fans to attend game one against Nebraska Saturday will receive a commemorative poster celebrating last season's national championship.

The Sooners are 35-8 all-time in home openers and are going for their 20th consecutive win in such games. OU’s last loss in a home opener came in a 5-2 defeat to South Carolina on March 9, 1994.

The Sooners have a 213-174 (.550) all-time record against ranked opponents. Against the No. 16 team Oklahoma is 9-5 (.643) all-time, but 10-14 (.417) against the Cornhuskers when they’re ranked.

Oklahoma has faced Arkansas Pine-Bluff just once in their history, sporting a 15-0, five-inning win on March 12, 2011. OU’s current seniors were freshmen then and all collected hits in the win. Destinee Martinez was 3-4 with two runs scored, while Brittany Williams was 1-1 with an RBI double, walk and a sac fly and Javen Henson was 1-3 with two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base.

The rivalry with Nebraska dates all the way back to their first meeting in 1977. In that time, the Huskers have built a 43-40 all-time edge, though OU does own a 17-14 mark in Norman. Oklahoma has done well in recent history winning three of the last four, seven of the last nine and 11 of the past 14.

The two teams met three times a year ago with the Sooners taking the series, 2-1. OU posted a 2-0 win in Palm Springs on Feb. 22 behind a two-run single from then-senior Jessica Shults in the seventh inning. In game one of a doubleheader in Norman, the Sooners used a two-out, seven-run rally in the fifth inning to break a tie and capture a 10-3 win.

Nebraska got its revenge in game two and snapped OU’s season-opening win streak at 17 games with a 1-0 win. Tatum Edwards hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth, one of just two Husker hits, and Emily Lockman pitched the shutout for Nebraska.

OU plays in the confines of Marita Hynes Stadium for the first time in 2014 this weekend. OU looks to build on its current 13-game home winning streak dating back to March 23, 2013. The current run ties for the sixth-longest home winning streak in school history.

A quick look at which Sooners have been enjoying recent success:

 Player  G  AB  R  H  RBI  2B  HR  BB  K  SB  AVG/OBP/SLG
 Casey  6  20  5  6  4  2  0  2  1  0  .350/.435/.550
 Ellis  5  13  4  4  6  0  1  3  3  0  .308/.444/.538
 Martinez  5  16  7  8  7  2  0  2  0  4  .500/.556/.625
 Miller, Erin  5  14  5  6  6  1  1  0  4  1  .429/.429/.857
 Parsons  5  8  3  4  0  0  0  0  2  1  .500/.556/.500
 Pendley  15  49  16  21  18  8  3  6  12  1  .429/.491/.776


 Player  G  IP  H  R  ER  BB  K  HR  ERA
 Stevens  6  22.1  11  7  5  10  24  2  1.57

Four of OU’s five losses have come to ranked teams this year. In fact, as of 2/25 the average ranking in both polls of those four ranked teams at the time of the game was 7.4, which is the most difficult in the nation (min. four ranked opponents faced).

 Team  Avg. Opp. Rank  Vs. Top-25  Record
 Oklahoma  7.4  0-4  10-5
 Louisiana-Lafayette  7.5  1-3  9-5-1
 South Florida  7.6  1-3  8-5
 Illinois State  7.7  0-6  5-9
 SIU-Edwardsville  8.8  0-4  3-11

Destinee Martinez has been named the Big 12 Player of the Week. It’s the first weekly conference honor for an OU player in 2014 and the first for Martinez her in her career.

Martinez hit .500 for the weekend (8-16) and led the team in runs scored (7), hits (8), RBI (7) on-base percentage (.556) and stolen bases (4). Among her highlights, she was 4-4 against Oregon State and drove in a career high three RBI against both Northwestern and Syracuse.

Playing at the prestigious Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Oklahoma had its best weekend of the season by going 4-1. The weekend opened with a pair of run-rule wins as OU topped Boise State, 9-1, in five innings and Oregon State, 11-3, in six.

The win over the Broncos was highlighted by grand slams from both Erin Miller and Whitney Ellis. As rare of a feat as it may sound, OU actually accomplished the feat on April 26, 2013 against Iowa State when Shelby Pendley and Kelley Reeves did it. It was Miller’s first career homer.

The next day, OU came back from a 9-3 deficit in the sixth inning to defeat Northwestern, 11-9. A six-run sixth tied the game and then the Sooners scored twice in the seventh to win. It was OU’s biggest come-from-behind win since March 4, 2005, when the team rallied from an 8-0 hole after two innings to beat Illinois-Chicago, 17-10, in eight innings.

Oklahoma’s lone loss on the weekend came to No. 8/9 UCLA via walkoff, 3-2. OU scored a pair of unearned runs and led 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth before the Bruins rallied. The three runs scored tied for UCLA’s lowest output of the year.

In the weekend finale, Destinee Martinez matched a career high with three RBI as the Sooners beat Syracuse, 6-2. She had a two-run double and RBI groundout, while Pendley had a two-run single in the win.

After going 3-2 in the season-opening Easton Tournament, the Sooners also went 3-2 at the Littlewood Classic in Arizona.

OU jumped out to an 8-0 lead and held off Illinois State, 11-6, in the opening game. Junior Georgia Casey hit a two-run homer, while junior Shelby Pendley and senior Brittany Williams each hit three-run home runs.

The team’s four-game win streak came to an end with a 7-0 loss at No. 5/5 Arizona State, but OU bounced back with a 7-2 win over SIU-Edwardsville. In the win, Oklahoma drew 13 walks and stole eight bases, finishing one off the school record.

A 3-1 loss to No. 3/3 Washington dropped the Sooners to 2-2 on the weekend, but OU rallied for a 7-6 win over Michigan State in the finale to finish with a winning record.

Oklahoma led the Spartans 5-0 after six innings, but MSU rallied for six runs. The lead didn’t last long, though, as Pendley delivered a walk-off two-run double, her school record tying third of the game, in the bottom of the seventh for the win.

Oklahoma opened the 2014 season last weekend at the Easton Tournament in Fullerton, Calif., posting a 3-2 record.

OU dropped its season opener to No. 12/14 Kentucky, 5-4, in 10 innings. The Sooners had a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but allowed a pair of solo home runs and the Wildcats were able to win in the 10th.

In addition to seeing its 13-game win streak end, OU’s season-opening win streak ended at four games, its eight-game win streak against ranked opponents was stopped and its three-game winning streak in extra innings came to a close.

Oklahoma then dropped to 0-2 with a loss to host-Cal State Fullerton, but bounced back with a pair of run-rule wins.

In defeating Santa Clara 10-1 in five innings, Georgia Casey was 3-3 with four RBI and also got the win in the circle. OU then topped Loyola Marymount 11-1 in five innings behind a seven-run fourth inning.

In the weekend finale, Leslie Miller’s two-run homer was the lone OU hit of the game but it was enough to beat Pittsburgh, 2-1. Kelsey Stevens struck out a season-high 10 batters with no walks to keep the Panthers in check.

The final score of 11-1 in five innings illustrates how strong the OU offense was against LMU (2/8), but it was the defense that came through with the highlight of the day on a triple play.

OU led 4-1 in the top of the fourth, but LMU had runners on first and second. A sharp grounder by Taryn Renowden was hit to junior Shelby Pendley at third base. She stepped on third for the force, threw to senior Javen Henson at second base for the second out and Henson threw on to junior Lauren Chamberlain at first base to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.

Junior Lauren Chamberlain made history in the season opener versus Kentucky (2/7) with a solo home run in the third inning.

It was the 61st of her career, tying former Sooner and current OU GA Jessica Shults for the most in Big 12 and Oklahoma history. Chamberlain, who hit 30 homers as both a freshman and sophomore, is now tied for 28th all-time in NCAA DI history.



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