NORMAN – After taking down Omaha (7-13) in game one via run-rule, No. 9/10 Oklahoma (18-4) used the same tactic in an 8-0, five-inning victory in game two to complete a doubleheader sweep of the Mavericks on the opening day of the OU Tournament Friday at Marita Hynes Field.
The Sooners used a six-run inning to record their sixth run-rule win of the season and ninth straight win overall. In addition, Oklahoma has now won 23 straight at home and is two wins away from tying for the third longest home win streak in program history.
Eight different Sooners had a hit with sophomores Caleigh Clifton and Shay Knighten leading the way with two hits each. Junior Nicole Pendley used a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly to record a team-high three runs batted in.
Freshman Mariah Lopez kept her record perfect on the year as she got the win. Now 6-0, Lopez struck out seven and gave up just one hit with no walks or runs allowed. Fellow freshman Nicole Mendes closed out the game with a perfect fifth inning.
Lopez was perfect through three innings and she struck out the side in the third. The lone hit she allowed was a leadoff double in the fourth, but it would be the only baserunner that the Mavericks would get. A sacrifice bunt moved Lizzie Noble to third, but Lopez fired back with a pair of strikeouts to end the threat. Her seven strikeouts were one off the career high of eight she set against Western Kentucky on March 5.
Oklahoma started quickly, scoring in each of the first three innings.
Clifton led off the game with a single and reached second on a groundout. After a passed ball, she came home on Pendley’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Mendes started the second inning with a single before stealing second base. A groundout moved her to third, while junior Hannah Sparks drove a double to the right-center gap to double OU’s lead at 2-0.
A six-run third inning proved to be the difference for OU.
Sophomore Sydney Romero led off with a single to get on base for Pendley, who smoked a two-run homer to right field. It was her team-leading eighth home run of the season and her third in the last five games.
Later in the inning, leading 4-0 with runners on first and second, senior Macey Hatfield drilled an RBI single up the middle. Mendes took third on the play and came around to score during the next at-bat on a wild pitch.
Junior Kelsey Arnold batted next with a 6-0 lead, but she stepped into the right-handed batters’ box instead of her usual spot as a lefty slapper. Arnold hit as a righty for the final 28 games in her freshman season and batted .371, but batted exclusively as a left-hander during her sophomore and junior seasons. She showed no rust, though, as she drilled a double to center field to drive in Hatfield with the seventh Sooner run. A hard liner to center from Clifton then brought home Arnold with the game’s final run.
Oklahoma continues action at the OU Tournament Saturday against Illinois-Chicago. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.