Oklahoma Outlasts Ole Miss, 11-8

Karl Anderson
By Karl Anderson
Assistant Director of Communications
FEBRUARY 17, 2017
RV/RV Ole Miss
Ole Miss
4/6 Oklahoma
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
OU 4 2 0 2 0 0 3 11 17 0
OM 0 1 0 1 1 0 5 8 11 2
W - Lowary (2-1) 2.1 1 3 3 3 2
L - Lee (1-2) 1.1 8 6 5 1 0
S - N/A - - - - - -
Individual Leaders
OU - Knighten 4 2 4 4 1 0
OM - Cox 4 1 3 0 0 0
Game Notes
Oklahoma is now 6-0 all-time against Ole Miss, including 3-0 at neutral sites ... the game was originally scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, but did not begin until 7:18 due to a rain and electrical delay ... the game was also delayed in the bottom of the first for an additional 15 minutes due to electrical issues ... OU's 1-5 hitters combined to go 14-21 and scored all 11 runs ... junior Nicole Pendley led off the game with a home run, her team-leading third of the year and the first leadoff blast in her career ... sophomore Shay Knighten had a career high in hits, going 4-4 with 4 RBI ... sophomore Caleigh Clifton was 2-3 with 3 runs scored (tying a career high), a walk and a hit by pitch; she's the only Sooner to reach base in every game this year ... Clifton has been hit by 20 pitches in her career, tying former Sooner Javen Henson for 10th in OU history ... sophomore Fale Aviu tied a career high with three hits ... Sydney Romero scored a career-high three runs

HOUSTON, Texas – No. 4/6 Oklahoma (4-2) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the top of the second inning and outlasted Ole Miss (3-2) by a score of 11-8 Friday at the Houston Classic.

Coming off a 14-0, five-inning win over Incarnate Word earlier in the day, the Sooners’ bats stayed red-hot against the Rebels in a rematch from last season’s NCAA Regionals. Oklahoma’s 1-5 hitters combined to 14-21 against Ole Miss and scored all 11 runs.

Sophomore Shay Knighten had a career high in hits, going 4-4 with a double, four runs batted in and two runs scored to lead the offense.

Junior Nicole Pendley and sophomore Fale Aviu were each 3-5 in the game, while sophomores Caleigh Clifton and Sydney Romero each enjoyed two-hit games. Clifton scored three runs and was hit by a pitch. Despite just being six games into her second season at OU, Clifton already is tied for 10th in OU history with 20 career hit by pitches. And like Clifton, Romero also scored three runs.

The Sooners were able to keep up the hot hitting despite dealing with a couple of delays. Originally first pitch was scheduled for 2 p.m., but rain forced a postponement until 7 p.m. Right before the game started, a bank of stadium lights went out, causing an 18-minute delay. Then in the bottom of the first, another set of lights went out, resulting in a 15-minute delay this time.

All told, the game took three hours and 29 minutes. It was the longest OU contest in terms of time since the 2014 Super Regionals against Tennessee when game two lasted six hours and 24 minutes due to a rain delay that last nearly four hours.

Pendley kept up her hot hitting, leading off the game with a solo shot to center field. The homer, which came on a 3-2 pitch, was her team-leading third of the year and the first leadoff blast of her career. The home run came after she went 3-4 earlier in the day against Incarnate Word with a grand slam and five runs batted in. She leads Oklahoma in hits (11), home runs (3), RBI (9) and slugging (.909) this year.

The lead grew to 2-0 thanks to an Ole Miss error.

With runners on the corners, Romero sent a grounder to Dylinn Stancil at third base, but Stancil’s throw coming home was errant and went to the backstop. Clifton was able to score on the play, while Aviu moved to third and Romero advanced to second. Knighten singled to left field to drive in Aviu to make it 3-0 before freshman Alissa Dalton lifted a sacrifice fly to center field extend the lead to 4-0.

OU added two more runs in the second thanks to five straight hits.

With one out, Pendley singled up the middle, Clifton followed with a single of her own to right field and Aviu dropped a hit into left to load the bases. Romero and Knighten each then followed with consecutive singles through the left side to take a 6-0 lead.

Ole Miss got on the board in the bottom of the frame, but Oklahoma got that run back and added another in the top of the fourth.

With one out and one on, Knighten pulled a double down the left field line to bring home Romero for a 7-1 lead. After a groundout, senior Macey Hatfield was hit by a pitch and junior Lea Wodach walked to load the bases. The Sooners went to the bench, calling on freshman Vanessa Taukeiaho. The first-year Sooner came through with a single to right field, giving OU an 8-1 advantage.

Ole Miss cut further into the lead over the next two innings as a wild pitch brought home a run in the fourth and an RBI groundout made it 8-3 in the fifth. But Sooners relief pitcher Paige Lowary stranded a pair of runners to end the fifth and the sixth, limiting any further damage.

OU countered in the top of the seventh with three insurance runs.

Clifton was hit by a pitch to start the inning, her fourth straight game getting hit. Two batters later, Romero singled to right to put runners on the corners and then stole second. Knighten brought home Clifton with a run-scoring single to right, making it 9-3. An RBI single from Dalton allowed Romero score. Hatfield later drove in Knighten with an RBI groundout.

Those three runs became crucial because Ole Miss scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh. However, freshman Mariah Lopez got a strikeout with the tying run on deck to seal the win.

Junior Paige Parker started for OU but only lasted 3.2 innings. She struck out two and walked one, giving up two runs on six hits. Lowary tossed the next 2.1 frames and earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season. Lowary gave up three runs on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts. Lopez got the final three outs, all via strikeout, but yielded three runs on four hits in the process.

Oklahoma finishes play at the Houston Classic with two games against the host-Cougars on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. with the second game to follow.



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