NORMAN – After facing four junior college teams and outscoring them 68-2 so far in the fall, the Oklahoma softball team got its first taste of a Division I team Monday night. The step up in competition didn’t matter, though, as OU dominated North Texas, 22-0, in nine innings at Marita Hynes Field.
The Sooners’ offense, which pounded out 23 hits, saw five different batters collect at least three hits. Leading the way was freshman Alissa Dalton who was 5-6 with a homer, double and three runs batted in. Junior Kelsey Arnold was a perfect 4-4 at the plate with a triple and RBI, while sophomores Sydney Romero and Kylie Lundberg and senior Macey Hatfield each had three hits.
Romero finished a single short of the cycle, going 3-6 with a double, triple, grand slam and team-high eight runs batted in. Fellow sophomore Fale Aviu also had a grand slam as she drove in five runs.
In the circle, four different pitchers combined on the shutout.
Junior Paige Lowary made her fall debut by starting in the circle. She threw a team-high 4.0 innings with just one hit allowed, two walks and three strikeouts. Freshman Mariah Lopez contributed 3.2 innings in the circle, yielding two hits to go with two strikeouts.
Freshmen Melanie Olmos and Nicole Mendes each threw two-thirds of an inning. Olmos allowed two hits with one strikeout, while Mendes gave up one hit and a walk.
The Sooners needed just four batters to score the game’s opening run in the bottom of the first.
Dalton got the inning started when she hit a leadoff double to left field. Sophomore Caleigh Clifton and Romero were each then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Aviu then drove in Dalton with a sacrifice fly to left.
OU doubled its lead in the second. Arnold reached on a chopped infield single, while Hatfield followed with a double to the gap in right-center, putting the Sooners up 2-0.
The third inning saw the Sooners double their lead once again. Aviu singled off North Texas’ pitcher and Lundberg added a single of her own. Junior Lea Wodach then drove home Aviu with a single before Arnold drove a pitch up the middle to plate Lundberg and make the lead 4-0 for OU.
After a scoreless fourth, OU doubled its lead for the third time in the contest with a four-run fifth.
Arnold picked up her third hit of the game with a one-out triple, and Hatfield drove her in with a single through the right side. The Sooners loaded the bases later in the frame, but Romero emptied them when she launched a three-run triple to center field, making it 8-0 for Oklahoma.
The Sooners then broke the game wide open with a nine-run sixth inning. Aviu hit a grand slam, while Dalton added a three-run homer, Hatfield had a sacrifice fly and Romero delivered a run-scoring double.
The offense kept coming in the eighth inning when five more runs came across for the Sooners. After Clifton drew a bases-loaded walk, Romero launched OU’s second grand slam of the day to make it a 22-0 lead.
The Sooners play their final fall home game Friday night when they host the USSSA Pride at 6:30 p.m. Former Sooner greats Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley are scheduled to play for the Pride, and tickets are still available.