NORMAN - Winners of 16 straight, No. 8/8 Oklahoma (39-7, 9-0 Big 12) hosts No. 15/13 Baylor (35-7, 8-1) this weekend in a three-game series. First place is at stake as OU leads Baylor (and Oklahoma State) by one game.
Friday’s game is set to start at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed on SoonerSports.tv with a paid subscription, while Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon) can be seen on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and Michele Smith on the call.
The games can also be heard on KEBC 1560 in Norman or online via the link above.
Oklahoma has a 53-12 (.815) all-time advantage over Baylor, including a 21-6 (.778) mark in Norman where the Sooners have won five of the past six meetings. OU has won five straight overall in the series, winning by a combined scor of 32-9.
OU head coach Patty Gasso is 45-9 (.833) all-time against the Bears. The Sooners have not lost a regular season series to Baylor since being swept in the 2004 season, going 8-0-4 since then.
OU’s 53 wins against Baylor are its fourth most against another program in its history.
Among teams its faced at least 25 times, OU’s .815 win percentage over the Lady Bears is its fourth highest against another team behind North Texas (1.000; 29-0), Texas Tech (.875, 49-7) and Wichita State (47-7; .870).
OU and BU have played nine common opponents so far: Tulsa, Arizona, North Texas, Washington, UCLA, Northwestern State, Incarnate Word, Kansas and Iowa State. The Sooners are 11-2 against those teams with losses to Arizona and Washington, while the Lady Bears are 11-3 with losses to Arizona, North Texas and Kansas.
OU has two Texans on its roster in freshmen Alissa Dalton (Cypress; Cy-Fair HS) and Nicole Mendes (Houston).
Oklahoma sophomore Kylie Lundberg was high school teammates with Baylor junior Jessie Scroggins at Lakewood HS in Lakewood, Calif.
Top Big 12 Pitching Staffs Set to Meet
The two best pitching staffs in the Big 12 are set to meet this weekend. Both teams rank first or second in nearly every major pitching category in the league.
|OU||Stat (Big 12 Rank)||BU|
|301.2 (1)||Innings Pitched||289.0 (3)|
|1.69 (2)||ERA||1.60 (1)|
|7.59 (1)||K per 7 IP||7.17 (2)|
|1.51 (1)||BB per 7 IP||1.60 (2)|
|17 (2)||Complete Games||15 (3)|
|13 (1)||Shutouts||12 (2)|
|.172 (1)||Opp. Average||.200 (2)|
Last Time They Met
Baylor was swept at home in a three-game series for the first time since the sport was reintroduced at the school in 1996 when OU took all three games last year in Waco by a combined score of 16-4.
Three home runs, including a solo shot by Sydney Romero, aided Paige Parker in a 5-0 shutout in game one.
Parker threw another shutout in game two with six strikeouts, and then-senior Kady Self hit an eighth-inning grand slam for a 4-0 victory to clinch the series.
Parker earned her third win of the weekend as OU won the finale 7-4. Nicole Pendley drove in four, higlighted by a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning.
OU won two of three games over Baylor the last the teams met in Norman in 2015. Baylor took the first game of the series via run-rule, 8-0, in six innings. Oklahoma evened up the series in game two with a 5-2 win and then took the series in game three behind an 11-3, five-inning victory. Then-senior Lauren Chamberlain tied the NCAA home run record with her 90th career homer.
9-0 Matches Best Big 12 Start
Now 9-0 in the Big 12, Oklahoma has tied the best start to league play in program history. No OU team has ever started 10-0. Coincidentally, Baylor has ended each of Oklahoma’s last two attempts to get to 10-0.
Home Sweet Home
Dating back to April 3 of 2016, OU has won 32 straight home games, including all 17 home games this year. The 32 straight wins at home are the second most in program history, trailing only the mark of 45 set between April 2000 and March 2002.
|Wins||Start Date||End Date|
|45||April 14, 2000||March 29, 2002|
|32||April 3, 2016||N/A|
During the streak, Oklahoma has three top-25 wins, 12 shutouts and 14 run-rule wins. Eleven victories have been against Big 12 teams, while 21 have been non-conference matchups.
Big 12 Win Streak at 24 Games
Since April 3 of 2016, OU has won 24 straight Big 12 games, including all nine this year. The 24 straight wins mark the longest Big 12 win streak in program history.
|Wins||Start Date||End Date|
|24||April 3, 2016||N/A|
|21||April 1, 2001||April 10, 2002|
During the streak, Oklahoma has three top-25 wins, seven shutouts and six run-rule wins. Eleven victories have been at home and 13 have come on the road.
The Sooners are undefeated in their past 40 regular season Big 12 series, going 36-0-4. The last series loss for OU came to Missouri on April 16-17, 2011. The next longest Big 12 series unbeaten streak belongs to Baylor at 6-0-0.
Since the Big 12 began in 1996, OU has the best all-time win percentage in conference play at .781 (299-84), while Texas is a distant second at .638 (229-130). Among the other teams currently in the league, Baylor is third at .513 (184-175-1), followed by Oklahoma State at .450 (172-210), Kansas at .385 (151-241), Texas Tech at .315 (121-263) and Iowa State at .209 (80-303).
Pitching Staff Nearing 2013 Levels
The Oklahoma pitching staff is having its best season statistically since the 2013 national championship team that was led by Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne. The team's ERA (1.69), strikeout rate (7.59 per 7 IP) and opponent average (.172) are all at their best levels since 2013, while the walk rate of 1.51 walks per 7 innings pitched is actually better than 2013 (1.57).
The 2017 staff has been anchored by two-time All-American Paige Parker, but junior transfer Paige Lowary and freshman Mariah Lopez have emerged to form a powerful trio. Each pitcher has thrown at least 72.0 innings this year, while Parker has seen her inning total drop from 157.0 to 123.0 at this same point a year ago.
Entering the week, OU, LSU and Texas A&M were the only teams in the country to have three pitchers who have thrown at least 72.0 IP and also have ERAs of 1.85 or better.
Lowary’s numbers have improved significantly in Norman compared to her first two seasons at Missouri. Her ERA has improved from 3.32 to a team-best 1.70 while her strikeout rate has climbed from 6.11 per 7 IP to 6.46 and her walk rate has dropped from 3.51 per 7 IP to 2.10.
OU Stealing at Highest Rate in Last 12 Years
Through 46 games, Oklahoma is 81-97 on stolen base attempts. With 1.78 steals per game entering the week, OU ranked 31st in the country, but by their own standards, the Sooners are stealing at their highest rate in the past 12 years.
The 81 steals and 97 steal attempts are the most for OU at this point in the season since at least 2006.
After stealing 6 bases all of last year, Sydney Romero leads the team with 15 this year, while Caleigh Clifton is second on the team by matching her total of 14 from a year ago. Nicole Mendes has 11 to rank third on the team. Eleven different players have at least one stolen base this year.
As a team, OU has 14 games this year with at least three stolen bases and nine games with at least four, including a season-high five against Iowa State (3/31). The 81 steals are seventh most in OU history.
Through 4/16, Paige Parker is 10th among active pitchers in career shutouts (25), 9th in wins (81), 13th in ERA (1.67), 15th in strikeouts/7 IP (7.71), 16th in total strikeouts (652) and complete games (66), 31st in innings (592.3), 39th in starts (84) and 47th in appearances (116) ... Paige Lowary is 15th among active pitchers in saves (10), 33rd in strikeouts/7IP (6.17) and 35th in wins (52) ... Caleigh Clifton is 36th among active players with 33 career HBP
Mariah Lopez leads the team with a 0.57 ERA in home games, while Lowary has a team-best 0.57 in Big 12 matchups ... Macey Hatfield leads OU with a .500 average in home games, while Shay Knighten has a team-best .519 aveage in conference games ... Alissa Dalton is batting a team-high .484 (15-31) with runners in scoring position
Every pitcher on the OU staff has an ERA of 1.76 or better, and the staff ERA is 0.93 during home games ... as a team, OU is 91-162 (.562) with a runner on third and less than 2 out ... after hitting 15 home runs in their first 32 games (0.47/game), the Sooners have hit 19 in their last 14 contests (1.36/game) ... conversely, OU pitchers have given up two home runs in the last 12 games (0.17/game) after after giving up 25 in the first 34 contests (0.74/game)