LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 10/8 Oklahoma (37-7, 8-0 Big 12) hit a season-high six home runs, including four in an 11-run fourth inning, en route to a 16-7 victory in five innings Friday at Kansas (21-21, 3-8).
The win clinched the series for OU, extending their unbeaten streak in league series to 40, going 36-0-4 in that span. This also marks the sixth time in program history that OU started conference play 8-0.
The six home runs were the most OU had ever hit in a conference game and were two off the school record of eight set in 2015 against East Carolina. The four-homer inning was one off the program record of five done in that contest vs. ECU.
Sophomore Sydney Romero hit her seventh home run of the year, while fellow sophomore Fale Aviu hit her fourth of the season. Sophomores Shay Knighten and Caleigh Clifton each hit home run No. 3 on the year, while sophomore Kylie Lundberg and freshman Alissa Dalton each hit the first home runs of their careers.
OU’s 1-6 hitters in the starting lineup combined to go 11-19 (.579) with 12 runs scored, 11 runs batted in and five home runs.
Dalton, who batted leadoff for the second time all season and first time since the third game of the year, tied career highs in hits and runs by going 3-4 with three runs scored and set a career high with three RBI. Knighten, Aviu and freshman Nicole Mendes all tallied two hits in the game. Lundberg had a career high four RBI with a pinch hit grand slam, while Dalton and Romero drove in three runs and Aviu and Knighten each drove in a pair.
Junior Paige Parker got the win to improve to 15-5 on the year. She entered in relief after freshman Mariah Lopez was tagged for three runs on five hits and two walks in 1.1 innings, her shortest start of the year. Parker gave up four runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk in 2.2 innings of work. Junior Paige Lowary threw the final inning, striking out the side in the fifth.
The scoring started in the first when Romero hit an RBI groundout and Aviu hit the first home run of the game, a two-run shot to right center, though a pair of run-scoring hits for Kansas tied the game at 3-3 after two innings. OU pulled ahead 4-3 on a sacrifice squeeze bunt by Romero in the third, only to see Kansas’ Harli Ridling hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning to tie things back up.
Oklahoma then broke the game open with an 11-run fourth inning, tying the season high for runs in an inning previously done in the first inning against Incarnate Word on Feb. 17.
Senior Macey Hatfield had an RBI single before Dalton hit a three-run homer. After a walk for Clifton, Knighten hit a no-doubt home run to left field, while Romero went back-to-back with her with a solo shot to left field. Back-to-back doubles for Aviu and Mendes and a walk for freshman pinch hitter Vanessa Taukeiaho loaded the bases for Lundberg, who drilled a grand slam to center field.
Ridling’s second home run of the game was a three-run blast in the bottom of the frame, but Clifton extended the lead back to nine runs with a solo homer in the top of the fifth.
The series finale is scheduled for a noon start Saturday.