Dominant Offense Secures Series Sweep
NORMAN – The No. 3/5 Oklahoma softball team matched its 10th-highest run total in program history as it took down Texas Tech 19-1 in five innings on Sunday afternoon at Marita Hynes Field.
With the win, the Sooners (28-2, 3-0 Big 12) clinched a series sweep against Texas Tech (20-13, 0-3 Big 12). OU outscored TTU 35-1 on the weekend, earning run-rule victories in all three contests. It marked the first time the Sooners run-ruled an entire conference series since they did so against Iowa State in 2014.
“What a great series,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “For the past month or so, our pitching staff and our defense has been in control. We’ve been scoring runs, but nothing like this. To see the offense explode the way it did, top to bottom – there was no real hole in our lineup this weekend. It was really a pitcher’s nightmare.
“I’m really proud of these guys,” Gasso continued. “There was a different feel from them as we started this series. I feel their mission is back, and that is just to do their best and give all they have and leave it on the field during the Big 12 conference season.”
OU has now won 19 straight games, good for the longest active streak in Division I softball. The streak stands as sixth-best in program history. Additionally, the Sooners have won 17 consecutive home contests, dating back to last season, which also ranks sixth in school annals.
The Sooners were led at the plate by freshman Jocelyn Alo, who was 2-for-2 with two home runs, six RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. The Hauula, Hawaii, native homered in every game this weekend and now has 16 home runs this season, which leads the Big 12. Alo finished the weekend 4-for-5 at the plate with every hit going out of the park, and she is currently slugging 1.134 on the season with a team-high 40 RBIs.
Junior Caleigh Clifton went 4-for-4 on Sunday, driving in five runs and scoring two. She drilled a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, her sixth blast of the season. Classmate Shay Knighten also had a multi-RBI game, driving in two runs on her second home run of the season.
In addition to recording a dozen hits, the Sooners also exhibited patience at the plate as they drew a season-high 10 walks. Alo and Nicole Mendes led the team with two walks on the day.
Paige Parker, Parker Conrad and Paige Lowary combined in the circle on Sunday. Parker tossed the first 1.1 frames, allowing two hits and no runs while walking one. Conrad threw 1.2 innings in relief, surrendering one hit and registering one strikeout.
Lowary closed the final 2.0 innings and moved to 3-1 on the season, giving up three hits, one run and two walks while fanning three. Her three strikeouts came in the top of fourth as she closed the frame and left the bases loaded.
The Sooners opened scoring with an eight-run first inning. After the first two batters walked, Alo drilled her first home run of the day to build a 3-0 advantage. Three batters later, Knighten hit a homer of her own to extend the lead to 5-0.
With runners on first and second, Kelsey Arnold slapped an infield single that gave Clifton space to reach home from second. Sydney Romero then singled up the middle to bring home Lea Wodach from third. A fielder's choice hit by Mendes plated Arnold.
In the second inning, Knighten scored again as Clifton singled up the middle.
OU added three more runs in the third, loading the bases with three walks to open the frame. Alo reached home on an error before pinch hitter Raegan Rogers grounded out to bring Alexa Schultz home. Clifton hit another single up the middle that drove in Nicole Pendley.
The Sooners sealed the dominant win with seven more runs in the fourth. Freshman Eliyah Flores hit her first career double to drive in Vanessa Taukeiaho from second.
Alo then drilled her second homer of the day to score three more, marking her second career game with multiple home runs.
After two more runners reached, Clifton cleared the bases with another homer. Both Clifton and Alo's fourth-inning blasts sailed over the center-field wall.
The Sooners continue conference play on March 29-31 as they travel to Waco, Texas, to take on No. 13/14 Baylor.