PHOENIX, Ariz. – The No. 1 Oklahoma softball team shut out two opponents on Saturday at the GCU Kickoff Tournament, taking down Montana 4-0 before run-ruling Grand Canyon 10-0 in five innings.
In the first game of the day, starting pitcher Mariah Lopez struck out a career-high 11 batters and allowed just one hit in six innings to earn her first win of the season. She is the first Sooner pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts since Paige Parker registered 14 against Auburn on May 26, 2017.
Nicole Mendes threw the final inning in relief for Lopez, allowing one hit.
Sydney Romero led OU’s offensive effort by going 3-for-3 at the plate, recording three RBIs, two runs scored and a two-run home run.
The Sooners (4-0) opened scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Romero led off with a single to right field and advanced to third on a base hit from Nicole Pendley. Kelsey Arnold plated Romero with an infield single to get the Sooners on the board.
OU extended its lead with two more runs in the third. Mendes laced a line-drive double off the left field wall, and Romero followed with a two-run homer to left field.
Oklahoma added an insurance run in the fifth inning as Jocelyn Alo reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to third base following a Shay Knighten single. Romero recorded her third RBI of the game with a single to left center that plated Alo.
Oklahoma recorded its first run-rule victory of the season as it took down Grand Canyon for the second time in as many days.
The Sooners jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Mendes led off with a hit to right field, Knighten was hit by a pitch and Alo singled to load the bases. One batter later, Caleigh Clifton was also hit by a pitch, plating Mendes, before Aviu drew a walk to bring Knighten home.
OU’s offense kept clicking into the second inning as the Sooners added five runs. Lea Wodach was hit by a pitch to lead off, and Romero, Knighten and Clifton all drew walks to plate Wodach. Pendley cleared the bases with a double to center field, and was driven home by another double by Aviu.
In the fourth inning, Pendley reached base with a walk and advanced to third on a single from Aviu. The next batter, Kylie Lundberg, fouled out, and Pendley took advantage of the opportunity and dashed home.
The Sooners added a pair of insurance runs off Alo’s bat in the fifth inning. After Vanessa Taukeiaho was hit by a pitch, Alo crushed her second home run of the year with a blast over the left field wall.
Four pitchers appeared in Saturday's night cap in Paige Lowary (starter, 1.0 inning pitched), Paige Parker (2.1 innings), Melanie Olmos (1.0 inning) and Nicole Mendes (0.2 innings). Parker was credited with the win and moved to 2-0 on the season.
The Sooners are scheduled to conclude the GCU Kickoff Tournament on Sunday with a contest against Pacific at 11 a.m. CT. Fans can listen to the game on KEBC 1560 AM.