LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 7/7 Oklahoma (42-8, 12-1 Big 12) opened a three-game series at Texas Tech Friday with a 4-2 win over the Red Raiders (17-27, 4-12).
With the win and a doubleheader sweep by No. 15/13 Baylor over Oklahoma State, the Sooners have opened up a 1.5-game lead in the Big 12 standings. OU and OSU entered the day tied for first at 11-1 in league play, but the Cowgirls and Lady Bears are tied for second now at 11-3.
OU has won 14 straight over Texas Tech, their fifth longest active win streak over another team, outscoring TTU 124-24 in the process. Oklahoma has also won 22 straight road games, extending their program record.
Freshman Nicole Mendes was a disruptive force, reaching in all four plate appearances by going 3-3 with a walk and two runs scored. It was her sixth game this year with at least three hits, two more than any other Sooner has this year. Mendes also stole a career-high three bases, the most by a Sooner since Kelsey Arnold had three last year against Maryland.
Junior Paige Lowary got the win to improve to 12-2 on the season. She had a shutout through four innings before Texas Tech scored twice in the bottom of the fifth. Lowary finished with two runs allowed on five hits in 4.2 innings with one strikeout and one walk.
Freshman Mariah Lopez came on in relief and picked up her second save of the season. She issued a walk to the first batter she faced but set down the next seven, including six via strikeout. At one point, she struck out five straight batters.
After three scoreless innings, the Sooners broke through for two runs in the fourth.
Sophomore Fale Aviu led off by driving a ball to the gap in right-center for her team-leading 16th double of the season. Fellow sophomore Sydney Romero followed with a shot to nearly the same spot, doubling home Aviu to open the scoring. Mendes followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners. After a fielder's choice, junior Lea Wodach put down her team-high sixth sacrifice bunt, squeezing home Mendes from third.
The lead doubled in the fifth to 4-0 after another two-run inning.
Sophomore Shay Knighten led off the frame by hammering a 2-1 pitch to center field for her fourth home run of the season. Two batters later, Mendes kept the inning alive with a two-out walk. She then stole second and came around to score as junior Nicole Pendley ripped a single past second base.
Texas Tech cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Kiana Workman and Kiani Ramsey. The Red Raiders could've done further damage as they loaded the bases with two outs, but Lopez got a strikeout to keep the lead intact for OU.
Due to rain in the forecast, Saturday's start time has moved up from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. CT.