NORMAN – The two-time defending national champion Oklahoma softball team began its 2017 exhibition schedule Friday night with a pair of wins at its annual Fall Festival.
Three pitchers combined on a no-hitter in the opening game of the night, a 10-0, six-inning victory over Trinity Valley Community College. While in the nightcap, a five-run second inning paved the way for Oklahoma in a 9-1 win over Temple College.
The Sooners wrap up play at the Fall Festival Saturday against Seminole State at 4:45 p.m. and Northern Oklahoma College at 7 p.m.
Oklahoma 10, Trinity Valley CC 0 (6 Innings)
Sophomore starter Mariah Lopez was nearly perfect in the circle, allowing just one baserunner in 4.0 hitless innings. She struck out eight, including four in the fourth inning alone, with one reaching on a passed ball.
Lopez gave way to sophomore Nicole Mendes, who struck out one over the next 1.2 innings. Senior Paige Lowary faced one batter in the sixth, getting a groundout.
Four different Sooners recorded multi-hit games as juniors Sydney Romero, Falepolima Aviu and Raegan Rogers, and freshman Alexa Schultz each collected two hits.
Oklahoma got its first two runs on a pair of RBI singles in the first inning by senior Nicole Pendley and Romero. In the third, a sacrifice fly from junior Shay Knighten extended the lead to 3-0 while, one inning later, senior Kelsey Arnold slapped a single up the middle to make it 4-0.
OU doubled its lead in the fifth thanks to a two-run home run by Aviu, a bases-loaded walk for sophomore Vanessa Taukeiaho and an error on TVCC’s shortstop off the bat of freshman Lynnsie Elam.
In the sixth, three straight one-out walks were followed by a walk-off, two-run single from Rogers.
Oklahoma 9, Temple College 1
Sophomore Parker Conrad, who transferred in the offseason from the University of Missouri, made her OU debut as she got the start and threw 2.0 scoreless innings. She struck out two and walked one with one hit allowed. Sophomore Mariah Lopez surrendered the lone run in the game as she gave up three hits and walked one with one strikeout in one inning of work. Senior Paige Lowary relieved Lopez and threw 4.0 perfect innings with nine strikeouts to earn the win.
At the plate, junior Falepolima Aviu and senior Lea Wodach each collected two hits at the plate, and six other Sooners had a hit in the contest.
The Sooners avoided damage in the first inning as Temple College loaded the bases with no one out. However, the Leopards were kept off the board thanks to a 5-2-3 double play and a groundout. In the bottom of the frame, junior Sydney Romero drove in the first OU run with a single to left field that brought home sophomore Nicole Mendes.
A five-run second inning then broke the game open as the Sooners sent 10 batters to the plate. Junior Raegan Rogers brought in the first two runs of the inning when she laced a double to left center. After a walk to senior Kelsey Arnold, she and Rogers attempted a double steal. Temple’s catcher tried to throw out Rogers at third, but the ball went into left field allowing Rogers to score. Junior Kylie Lundberg eventually drove in Arnold with a single, while another Temple error later in the frame allowed OU’s sixth run of the game to score.
Temple got a run on the board in the top of the fourth, but OU answered back in the bottom of the inning. With two out and two in scoring position, freshman Eliyah Flores hit a grounder to third. The throw came home to try to get junior Shay Knighten, but she knocked the ball out of the catcher’s glove with her slide to score. Flores then got herself in a rundown between first and second, allowing enough time for Wodach to score from second on the play.
OU picked up an additional run in the bottom of the fifth thanks to Aviu’s second home run of the day, a solo shot to right center.