NORMAN – Facing its first Division I opponent of the fall exhibition slate, the two-time defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners took down Arkansas, 7-2, in 10 innings Sunday at Marita Hynes Field.
Eight different Sooners had a hit, including four with multi-hit efforts. Leading the way was junior Falepolima Aviu, who was 3-3 with three runs batted in. Senior Kelsey Arnold, sophomore Nicole Mendes and freshman Jocelyn Alo also had two hits in the win.
In the circle, four different OU pitchers combined on the win.
Sophomore Mariah Lopez got the start and took care of the first three innings, scattering three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Mendes was the first out of the bullpen and yielded a lone single while also striking out one in 2.0 innings of work.
Sophomore transfer Parker Conrad followed Mendes and was responsible for the two Arkansas runs. Conrad allowed those runs on five hits with one strikeout in 3.0 innings of work. Senior Paige Lowary then closed out the game, giving up two hits with two strikeouts in 2.0 innings.
Oklahoma needed just three batters to open the scoring in the first inning.
Junior Caleigh Clifton led off with a double, while Mendes followed with a single to left-center and taking second on the throw to third. Aviu then drove both runners in with a sharp single up the middle, staking OU to a 2-0 lead.
Aviu came through again in the second with a run-scoring single, pushing the lead to 3-0, driving in Clifton for the second straight inning.
After a scoreless third, Alo hit her first home run of the fall with a solo blast to center field, making it a 4-0 game.
The fifth and sixth innings passed without a run, but Arkansas ended the shutout in the top of the seventh with a pair of solo home runs. Oklahoma answered back, though, with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame.
Freshman Lynnsie Elam doubled to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Raegan Rogers. Two batters later, senior Hannah Sparks singled to left, putting runners on the corners. Sparks then stole second and the throw went into center field, allowing Rogers to score.
The lead grew to 6-2 when Mendes drove in Sparks with a single, while another double steal, this time involving Aviu and Mendes gave OU the 7-2 final score.
Oklahoma closes out its fall schedule Friday when it hosts North Texas at 6:30 p.m.