NORMAN – No. 9/10 Oklahoma (17-4) scored all of its runs in the final two innings to kick off the OU Tournament with a 9-1, five-inning win over Omaha (7-12) in game one of a doubleheader Friday at Marita Hynes Field.
Trailing 1-0 after three innings, the Sooners put up three runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth to post their fifth run-rule win of the season and extend their winning streak to eight games.
Junior Nicole Pendley and sophomores Sydney Romero and Shay Knighten each had two hits in the win, while Pendley, Knighten and sophomore Fale Aviu each scored twice to boost the OU offense.
The beneficiary in the circle for the Sooners was junior Paige Parker. She struck out six and walked none while giving up just one run on two hits and sports a 7-3 record on the season. The win was No. 73 in her career, breaking a tie with Cheryl Jacobs (’78-80) for sixth place in OU history. It was also Parker’s 63rd career complete game, matching Christine Haag (’90-93) for eighth place in the Oklahoma record book.
Omaha got on the scoreboard first as Megan May hit a one-out, solo home run to left center for her first homer of the season. The lead would not last long though, as OU countered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Pendley evened the game up when she pulled a 1-1 pitch deep over the fence in right field for her team-leading seventh home run of the season.
Aviu followed Pendley with a walk and then took second on a passed ball. Knighten then drove her in when she dropped a double beyond first base to put the Sooners up 2-1.
A wild pitch sent Knighten to third, while freshman Vanessa Taukeiaho walked and stole second. A pair of outs came next, but junior Kelsey Arnold added a third run for OU when she beat out an infield single on a chopper to third to allow Knighten to score.
A six-run fifth inning brought OU its fifth run-rule win of the season.
Freshman Nicole Mendes, who had entered as a defensive substitute in the top of the inning, led off with her first career double. One pitch later, sophomore Sydney Romero drove her in with a single up the middle. Pendley batted next, singled through the right side and advanced to second when Omaha tried to throw out Romero at third. The heads-up baserunning paid off when Aviu delivered a two-run single up the middle to make it a 6-1 Oklahoma lead.
A single from Knighten and a walk to Taukeiaho filled the bases after Aviu’s hit. Senior Macey Hatfield pushed the lead to 7-1 with a sacrifice fly to center field, while sophomore Raegan Rogers reached on a fielder’s choice to plate Knighten with the eighth Oklahoma run.
After a fielder’s choice and walk to Mendes refilled the bases, Romero ended the game when she pulled a single through the left side as OU beat an eight-run advantage.