NORMAN – Sooner magic prevails once again.
Trailing 6-0, the No. 2/2 Oklahoma softball team scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal a 7-6 victory over Wichita State on Wednesday night at Marita Hynes Field.
“I loved the tenacity – although this team will tell you, this was not a good game for us,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “But, we’re a good team because a good team can know in their lowest point that they’re never out of it. That’s what I felt from this group, especially as we started creating a little bit of momentum… I loved the tenacity and the effort and the will to keep going when a lot of teams would have surrendered.”
The comeback preserved the Sooners' nation-leading win streak, which is now at 26 games. OU moved to 35-2 on the season, including a perfect 17-0 mark at home, while the Shockers fell to 22-15.
The Sooners have now won 35 straight against the Shockers, OU's longest active win streak against a Division I opponent.
Mariah Lopez earned the win for the Sooners, tossing 3.1 innings in relief to move to 11-0 on the year. Entering the game with a 6-0 deficit, Lopez allowed no runs on only three hits while fanning four to keep OU in the contest.
“She kept us in the game,” Gasso said of Lopez’s performance. “Six runs are not something we can’t come back from. I don’t know that there’s an amount of runs that we can’t come back from. But, Mariah was key in keeping us within striking distance, especially as we were getting later in the game.”
Paige Lowary recorded her fifth save of the season as she pitched the final inning, retiring Wichita State's batters in order.
At the plate, the Sooners were led by junior Sydney Romero, who was 3-for-4 to improve her team-best batting average to .465. Senior Lea Wodach was 1-for-2, driving in three runs and scoring one on a clutch home run in the sixth. Freshman Jocelyn Alo drove in the tying and winning runs, finishing the day 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The Sooners faced their biggest deficit of the season against the Shockers. After a scoreless first two innings, WSU's Laurie Derrico and Caitlin Bingham both hit three-run home runs in the top of the third to go ahead 6-0.
Six runs is the most OU has given up through 37 games this season. Additionally, Wednesday was the first time the Sooners had surrendered multiple home runs in a contest in 2018.
Nonetheless, Sooner magic took over in the bottom of the sixth. Alo, Shay Knighten and Nicole Pendley led off the inning by drawing a trio of walks to load the bases with no outs. Clifton then drew OU's fourth consecutive base on balls to bring Alo home and put the Sooners on the board. The next batter, Nicole Mendes hit into a fielder's choice that drove in pinch runner Raegan Rogers.
Then, Wodach's second home run of the season came at the perfect time. She drilled a three-run blast to right field, putting the Sooners within one run.
Kelsey Arnold and Fale Aviu drew two more walks, and Sydney Romero singled through the left side to move the runners. Alo then placed a single in right field to plate Arnold and Aviu.
Alo said of the hit, “Lea just told me before that at-bat, ‘Don’t try to do too much. Just be within yourself. We don’t need a home run. We need a base hit.’ And, I got a base hit.”
Up next, OU welcomes Kansas for a three-game conference series Friday-Sunday at Marita Hynes Field.