AUSTIN, Texas – No. 11/9 Oklahoma (34-7, 5-0 Big 12) held off a late rally attempt to secure a 3-1 win over Texas (20-17, 0-5 Big 12) Saturday at McCombs Field. It was the Sooners’ 17th straight victory in a true road game, breaking a school record set between March of 2002 and March of 2003. It was also Oklahoma’s 11th consecutive win overall and its 20th victory in a row within Big 12 play.
The Sooners won for the ninth straight time against Texas and clinched their seventh straight series win over the Longhorns, going 6-0-1 since 2009. Despite the success, the game was the latest in a series of close affairs between the schools. Each of the last five wins has been decided by two runs or fewer.
Saturday’s win also kept the Sooners undefeated over their past 39 Big 12 series, dating back to 2011. The Sooners have gone 35-0-4 in league series since then, with the next closest streak belongs to Baylor at 6-0-0.
OU is 5-0 to start league play for the fourth time in the last five years.
For the second straight game, sophomore Caleigh Clifton had two hits, while junior Nicole Pendley also recorded a multi-hit game. Clifton, who scored twice, and fellow sophomore Fale Aviu each extended their hitting streaks to seven games, matching career bests for each. Sophomore Shay Knighten recorded at least one RBI for the 10th straight game, driving in two crucial runs in the fifth.
Freshman Mariah Lopez was the winner in the circle to improve to 12-1 on the year. She struck out two and walked none while giving up one run on two hits in 4.2 innings. Junior Paige Lowary entered in relief and picked up her fourth save of the year, tying Shelby Pendley’s 2014 mark for the most saves in a season in Oklahoma history. It was also the seventh for the Sooners as a team this year, breaking the school record of six set in 2009. Lowary struck out one and did not allow a run, hit or walk in 2.1 innings of work.
For the ninth straight game, Oklahoma got on the board in the first inning.
With one out, singled to center field to match her career best hitting streak at seven games. Two batters later, Aviu sent, a deep drive to right center. Texas right fielder Kaitlyn Washington did not appear to read it well off the bat, and Aviu’s hit landed on the warning track for an RBI double.
The next three innings passed without a run, but after a pair of key hits Friday, Knighten came through again Saturday in the fifth to extend the lead.
With Clifton on first after a one-out walk, Romero hit a grounder to third base. Celina Felix threw to second to try to start a double play, but Kaitlyn Slack was unable to handle the throw. The ball kicked into center and Clifton was able to reach third. Romero then stole second and Knighten brought both runners home with a blooped double beyond second base.
The insurance runs were needed as Texas finally cracked the scoreboard in the fifth.
Lopez had a no-hitter through 4.2 innings, but Washington broke that up with a double to left center. No. 9 hitter Kelli Hanzel followed that with the other Texas hit in the game, an RBI single up the middle to cut the Oklahoma lead to 3-1.
Texas put the tying run on base in the seventh, but the Sooners were able to hold on.
With one out, Tuesday DerMargosian reached on the second OU error of the game, just the third multi-error game of the year for the Sooners. DerMargosian then reached third on a passed ball. Slack followed and hit a grounder to third. Romero fielded it but was unable to tag DerMargosian and Slack was safe on a fielder’s choice. That brought Washington to the plate with runners on the corners. On a 1-0 pitch, she hit a grounder to Clifton at second, who started a 4-6-3 double play to end the contest.
Oklahoma goes for the series sweep Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.