Fast Start Sets Tone in 9-0 Win over KU

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 04, 2014
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KU 0 0 0 0 0 x x 0 1 2
OU 2 2 1 4 x x x 9 10 0
W - Stevens (18-5) 5.0 1 0 0 2 5
L - Kessler (17-8) 2.0 3 4 2 2 2
S - N/A - - - - - -
Individual Leaders
OU - Self 3 2 3 4 0 1
KU - Stein 2 0 1 0 0 0
Player of the Game
SelfKady Self // So. // OF
Self kept her red-hot hitting going and set the tone early in the Sooners' 9-0 win Friday night. On the second pitch of the game Self homered off the left field foul pole. One inning later, she hit a two-run single. Self finished 3-3 to tie a career high in hits, scored twice and drove in four runs.

NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma and Kansas both entered Friday night’s game undefeated in conference play, but the No. 22/15 Sooners (26-8, 5-0 Big 12) scored early and often en route to a 9-0, five-inning win over the Jayhawks (28-11, 3-1).

OU scored in every inning and pushed their season-best winning streak to eight games with the win. During the run, the team has outscored its opponents 59-5 with five run-rule victories.

It was Oklahoma’s ninth win in the past 10 meetings with Kansas after OU’s eight-game winning streak in the series was snapped in game two of a doubleheader last year in Lawrence.

The run-rule victory was the 14th posted by the Sooners this year. They have rattled off 83 straight run-rules since their last run-rule defeat. Of those 83 wins, 43 have come via shutout.

The Sooners couldn’t have started much quicker than they did Friday night, needing just two pitches to take a 2-0 lead in the first.

Junior Georgia Casey was hit on the foot by the game’s first pitch, and sophomore Kady Self pulled the next pitch she saw deep down the left field line. The ball hit off the foul pole to give Self her fifth home run of the season and fourth in the last five games.

“We knew we had to come out fast and kind of set a tone, and being that you’re home and you have your home-field advantage you really try to do that,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “With Georgia [Casey] getting on and Kady Self doing what she’s doing these days, that really kind of started things up for us.”

“It takes a lot of pressure off you, obviously,” Oklahoma starter Kelsey Stevens said of pitching with an early lead. “I always feel pretty confident even if we haven’t scored yet, that we’re going to score, but especially when you get runs in the first inning, it really helps you as a pitcher.”

OU doubled its lead in the second inning as Self came through again in the clutch.

Senior Destinee Martinez led off the frame by reaching on an error. Sophomore Leslie Miller followed with a single through the left side, and both players were sacrificed into scoring position on a bunt by junior Jessica Vest.

After a popup, Self stepped in and quickly got ahead in the count 3-0. KU starter Kelsey Kessler battled back to make it a full count, but Self drove in her third and fourth runs of the game as she hit a chopper up the middle.

That would be all for Kessler, who entered the game with a nation’s best 207 strikeouts. She managed two punchouts in two innings of work, but she also gave up three hits, two walks and four runs, two of which were unearned.

For Self, it was just another game in the midst of her recent hot streak. In her past five games dating back to the series opener at Iowa State, she is 11-15 (.733) with four home runs, 11 RBI, 10 runs scored, a double, three walks and no strikeouts. Her slugging percentage in those games is 1.600, while her on-base percentage is .778.

Self’s hitting streak is also at a career-best five games. She finished Friday night’s game 3-3, her third 3-3 performance in the hitting streak, with two runs scored and four RBI.

“It’s been really good,” Self said of her recent performance. “It’s been nice to see hard work pay off and to be able to help the team in any way I can.”

Sophomore Whitney Ellis led off the third inning with a solo home run to center field to make it 5-0 for the Sooners. It was her seventh of the year to match Casey for second most on the team.

OU then put the run-rule into effect with a four-run fourth.

With one out, Self and junior Shelby Pendley hit back-to-back singles up the middle. Senior Brittany Williams followed with a three-run homer to the bleachers in left center on a full-count pitch. It was her fourth long-ball of the season.

The run support was more than enough for Stevens, who twirled her second straight shutout. A leadoff single in the second inning was all that KU could muster off of her as Stevens allowed just one hit with five strikeouts and two walks.

Stevens, who needed just 66 pitches to set down the Jayhawks Friday, has now thrown 18.1 consecutive scoreless innings over her last four appearances.

Oklahoma and Kansas wrap up the series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. The teams were supposed to play a single game Saturday and Sunday, but there is a threat of rain for Sunday.



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