NORMAN — No. 2/2 Oklahoma (35-2, 9-0 Big 12) returns to conference play this weekend as it hosts Kansas (25-15, 0-6 Big 12) in a three-game series at Marita Hynes Field.
OU and KU are slated to face off Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT, Saturday at 4 p.m. CT and Sunday at 2 p.m. CT.
The Sooners are on a 26-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 21 contests at Marita Hynes Field, dating back to the 2017 season.
Oklahoma is in pursuit of its best Big 12 start in program history. The current best stands at 10-0.
All three games will be broadcast on SoonerSports TV for premium subscribers. Additionally, they can be heard on the air through KEBC 1560 AM in Norman or online via the Franchise 2.
With a 35-2 record this season, the 2018 Sooners have matched the 2007 and 2013 squads for the best 37-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.
OU has opened conference play 9-0 for the sixth time in program history. The current best league start stands at 10-0, accomplished by the 2017 squad.
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.
Home Sweet 'Homa
The Sooners are undefeated at home this year with 17 wins at Marita Hynes Field. OU has won 21 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 .378 at the plate, slugging .622, and recording an on-base percentage of .478. They’ve outscored opponents 142-21, holding foes to a .171 batting average while the pitching staff has posted a 1.44 ERA.
Nationally Ranked Offense
Oklahoma’s batting average (.335), on-base percentage (.439), slugging percentage (.549), scoring average (7.16) and home runs per game (1.30) all lead the Big 12. OU leads the country in scoring and is ranked nationally second in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in batting average and fifth in homers per game.
Freshman Jocelyn Alo ranks second nationally in home runs (17) and slugging (1.010), third in home runs per game (0.47), sixth in on-base percentage (.571) and eighth in total bases (104). Junior Sydney Romero is tenth in batting average (0.465).
Last Time Out
Trailing 6-0, the Sooners scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to claim a 7-6 victory over Wichita State on Wednesday night at Marita Hynes Field.
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. 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 Sydney Romero, who was 3-for-4 to improve her team-best batting average to .465. Lea Wodach was 1-for-2, driving in three runs and scoring one on a clutch home run in the sixth. 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.
Still, Sooner magic prevailed in the sixth inning. OU’s first four batters all drew walks, bringing one run across home plate. Nicole Mendes hit into a fielder’s choice that plated pinch runner Raegan Rogers. Then, Wodach drilled a three-run blast to right field, putting the Sooners within one run. Kelsey Arnold and Fale Aviu drew two more walks, and Romero singled through the left side to move the runners. Alo then placed a single in right field to plate Arnold and Aviu.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with the Jayhawks 63-44, including a 33-14 mark in Norman. Oklahoma swept the Jayhawks in 2017 with a trio of wins in Lawrence.
In game one, Paige Parker struck out a career-high 15 batters as the Sooners took down the Jayhawks 4-1. Parker fanned each Kansas starter at least once. At the plate, Alissa Dalton and Kelsey Arnold each went 2-for-3 for the Sooners, while Shay Knighten was 1-for-3 with a two-run single.
OU hit a season-high six home runs, including four in an 11-run fourth inning, en route to a 16-7 victory in five innings in game two. The six home runs were the most OU had ever hit in a conference game and were two off the school record of eight set in 2015 against East Carolina. The four-homer inning was one off the program record of five done in that contest vs. ECU.
The Sooners sealed the sweep with a 6-2 win in game three. Caleigh Clifton led the way by going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI while Nicole Pendley also had a multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 performance that included two runs batted in. Paige Lowary logged her fourth complete game of the year for her tenth win of the season.
The Sooners hit the road on Tuesday, traveling to Tulsa for a midweek matchup. OU then heads to Eugene, Ore., for a contest with No. 3/3 Oregon on Thursday before moving to Corvallis, Ore., for a pair of games with Oregon State.
OU leads the all-time series with all three programs, holding records of 42-10 over Tulsa, 10-5 over Oregon and 13-3 over Oregon State.