Sooners Host Shockers for Bark in the Park
NORMAN — No. 2/2 Oklahoma (34-2, 9-0 Big 12) takes a break from conference play on Wednesday as it hosts Wichita State (22-14, 5-4 American Athletic Conference) in a midweek contest at Marita Hynes Field.
The Sooners are on a 25-game win streak, the longest active streak in the nation and the third-best streak in program history. OU is also undefeated at home this season, winning its last 20 contests at Marita Hynes Field, dating back to the 2017 season.
Wednesday’s game will be “Bark in the Park,” and the first 50 dogs will receive an OU dog leash. All dogs are required to have proof of vaccinations, and more information is available here. It will also be Dollar Hot Dog Night, while supplies last. Tickets are sold out.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest Plus and on the Fox Sports GO app. Additionally, it can be heard on the air through KEBC 1560 AM in Norman or online via the Franchise 2.
With a 34-2 record this season, the 2018 Sooners have matched the 2007 and 2013 squads for the best 36-game start in program history. The 2007 team finished 55-8, with its third loss coming in its 39th game, while the 2013 group was 57-4 on the year as it claimed the program’s second national championship, with its third loss coming in the 41st game.
The Sooners were undefeated in the month of March, beginning their 25-game winning streak on March 2. OU’s offense posted a slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .344/.447/.575 in March while holding opponents to .143/.200/.196, outscoring foes 172-15. The Sooner pitching staff combined for an ERA of 0.76 with 153 total strikeouts.
Under 24th-year head coach Patty Gasso, the Sooners have only gone undefeated throughout an entire month four times, excluding June. The feat was also accomplished in May 2016, February 2013, February 2007 and April 2001.
No Place Like Home
The Sooners are undefeated at home this year with 16 wins at Marita Hynes Field. OU has won 17 consecutive home games, with its last loss coming in the NCAA Regionals against North Dakota State, 3-2 in nine innings.
OU finished the 2017 season with a 24-2 record at home, including a 20-1 mark in regular season contests.
The Sooners have swept a pair of conference series at home this season, taking down Iowa State and Texas Tech. OU outscored Iowa State 26-7 on April 8-9 and outscored TTU 35-1 on March 23-25, run-ruling the Red Raiders in five innings in each game.
The Sooners opened their 2018 home slate with a season-long 10-game homestand. Oklahoma was dominant in its opening weekend of home games, outscoring opponents 31-1 over four contests at the Courtyard Marriott Tournament March 2-4. Oklahoma hosted Saint Francis (PA) in a midweek contest on March 7, run-ruling the Red Flash 8-0 in five innings. The homestand concluded at the OG&E Tournament on March 9-11 with two wins over Illinois State and South Carolina and one win over Indiana.
Overall at home, the Sooners are averaging .393 at the plate, slugging .649, and recording an on-base percentage of .487. They’ve outscored opponents 109-8, holding foes to a .149 batting average while the pitching staff has posted a 0.74 ERA
Parker Named Finalist for Senior CLASS Award
Oklahoma pitcher Paige Parker has been chosen as one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award in college softball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Fans can vote for Parker here.
Parker joins former Sooners Erin Miller (2016), Shelby Pendley (2015), Destinee Martinez (2014), Keilani Ricketts (2013), Jessica Shults (2013), Samantha Ricketts (2009) and Lauren Eckermann (2008) as OU’s finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.
A three-time All-American, Parker has made 23 appearances in the circle for OU this season, currently holding a 19-1 record. Parker leads the nation with a 0.40 ERA through 104.1 innings pitched while holding her opponents to a .123 batting average. She has surrendered just six earned runs all year.
Parker owns 111 career wins and sits third all-time in program history, joining Kami Keiter (101 wins, 2002-05), Jennifer Stewart (115 wins, 1999-2002) and Keilani Ricketts (133 wins, 2010-13) as the only Sooners to reach 100 wins. She also leads leads all active Division I pitchers in wins. Texas State’s Randi Rupp holds 98, Oklahoma State’s Emmie Robertson has 86 and Furman’s Lindsey Bert and Florida State’s Kylee Hanson each own 77.
Among active Big 12 member teams, eight pitchers have reached the century-mark in wins in Parker, Keiter, Kansas’ Stephani Williams (105 wins, 1991-94), Texas’ Blaire Luna (112 wins, 2010-13), Stewart, Baylor’s Whitney Canion (123 wins, 2009-04), Ricketts and Texas’ Cat Osterman (136 wins, 2002-06).
Additionally, Parker has registered 128 strikeouts this season, bringing her career total to 883 Ks. Parker ranks second all-time in program history, trailing only Ricketts, who registered 1,605 strikeouts in her career. Parker also ranks fourth among active Division I pitchers, behind Rupp (1,176 Ks), Osorio (963 Ks) and Robertson (907 Ks).
Parker’s 75 career complete games rank sixth and her 32 career shutouts are the seventh-most in school history. She sits fifth among active pitchers in complete games – trailing Bert (99), Rupp (94), North Dakota State’s Jacquelyn Sertic (89) and Robertson (85) – and is tied with Hanson for second in shutouts behind Rupp (39)
Last Time Out
The Sooners moved to 9-0 in conference play for the sixth time in program history with a series sweep against Iowa State on April 8-9. The series was originally scheduled to take place in Ames, Iowa, on April 6-8 but was moved to Norman due to anticipated inclement weather.
On Sunday, OU opened the doubleheader with an 8-1 win in game one. The win was highlighted by a seven-run third inning in which OU took advantage of four Cyclone errors. Jocelyn Alo put OU on the board first with a three-run home run to left field, and Nicole Pendley immediately followed with a blast of her own, a solo shot to right that extended the Sooner lead to 4-0. After Shay Knighten reached on an error, Nicole Mendes hit her team-high third triple of the season to plate Knighten. Then, Mendes raced home on a wild pitch. Lea Wodach and Kelsey Arnold reached third and second, respectively, on a pair of errors before Aviu plated Wodach with a grounder.
Arnold led OU’s offensive effort in game two, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. Although the Cyclones got on the board in the first inning – the first time this season the Sooners allowed a run in the first inning – OU responded in the second as Arnold singled down the right field line to drive in Mendes and Caleigh Clifton before scoring on an error. After the Sooners added four more, the Cyclones scored four of their own in the fifth. ISU’s five runs total were the most OU has given up in a single game this season. Nonetheless, OU added two insurance runs in the sixth to clinch a 9-5 win.
The Sooners clinched the sweep with a 9-1 run-rule win in five innings on Monday afternoon. The Cyclones scored one run in the first inning again, but the Sooner defense quickly settled in to retire the next 15 batters in order. OU took a commanding lead with seven runs in the bottom of the frame. With the bases loaded, Mendes and Clifton drew a pair of walks to score two. The next batter, Wodach, singled through the left side to drive in Pendley and Mendes. Aviu then drilled a three-run homer to left center that extended the lead to 7-1. Knighten hit a blast of her own in the second inning, a two-run shot to left center that put OU up 9-1 and sealed the run-rule win.
Senior Paige Parker was impressive throughout the weekend in the circle, claiming two wins over two starts and earning her first save of the season in her other appearance. Mariah Lopez claimed the win in game two, allowing one run on two hits over 4.0 innings. Paige Lowary appeared in games two and three, allowing no runs on three hits.
Facing Wichita State
The Sooners lead the all-time series with the Shockers 47-7, including a 25-3 mark in Norman. In 2017, OU and Wichita State met once, with the Sooners claiming a 7-3 decision in Wichita.
Oklahoma has won 34 consecutive games in the series and has not lost to WSU since March 21, 1990. The win streak is Oklahoma’s longest streak against a Division I opponent, and the Sooners have never been defeated by the Shockers under head coach Patty Gasso.
When the teams met in 2017, the Sooners came back to take the Shockers down. The Sooners took a 2-0 lead as Nicole Pendley homered and Sydney Romero drove in a run, but Wichita State responded with a three-run home run from Paige Luellen to take the lead. The Sooners used a three-run fifth inning to regain the lead when Caleigh Clifton scored on an error and Fale Aviu plated two with a single to right center. Finally, Romero tripled in the sixth to drive in runners from second and third.
Overall, the Shockers ended the 2017 season 32-20 with a 16-9 mark in Missouri Valley play. WSU finished fourth in its league, finishing its season in the semifinal of the conference tournament. This year, Wichita State is off to an 22-14 start with a 5-3 record in its first season with the American Athletic Conference.
The Sooners continue their homestand as they host Wichita State in a midweek matchup on Wednesday. OU then welcomes Kansas for a three-game conference series Friday-Sunday.
OU leads both programs in the all-time series. The Sooners are 47-7 (25-3 in Norman) against Wichita State and 63-44 (33-14 in Norman) versus Kansas.