Run-Rule Wins Highlight Day Two in Phoenix
PHOENIX, Ariz. – On the second day of the GCU Kickoff Tournament, the No. 4/4 Oklahoma softball team earned a pair of five-inning, run-rule victories. The Sooners defeated Charlotte 13-0 Saturday morning before taking down Syracuse 9-1 in the afternoon.
Both games included a seven-run inning, marking OU's most runs in one frame since scoring eight in the fourth against Boston University at the NCAA Norman Regional on May 18, 2018.
“They strung some things together, and it became contagious,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “This is what we’re capable of: scoring fast… We’re starting to feel a little bit better. Today was a much better offensive day for us.”
In the first game of the doubleheader, junior pitcher Mariah Lopez tossed her second one-hit shutout in as many days. She fanned 10 batters, good for her second double-digit-strikeout game in a row and the third of her career.
The offense was powered by a trio of homers off the bats of seniors Shay Knighten and Raegan Rogers and freshman Grace Green. Green finished the contest 3-for-3 with two RBIs and four runs scored. Rogers led the team with four RBIs, scoring a pair of runs herself. Knighten was 2-for-2 while driving in three runs.
Also finishing with a pair of hits were Falepolima Aviu and Nicole Mendes. Freshman Grace Lyons had her first multi-RBI game, driving in two baserunners.
The Sooners opened the day hot, scoring seven runs in the top of the first. Knighten’s first home run of the season and 33rd of her career put Oklahoma on top 3-0 as she plated Aviu and Caleigh Clifton.
Lynnsie Elam drove in Green with a sacrifice fly to center. Grace Lyons drilled a bases-clearing double to right center, allowing Rogers and Mendes to score. Lyons would later score on an error.
In the second, Rogers hit her second career home run, a three-run shot to right field.
The next inning, Rogers doubled off the center-field wall to bring Aviu home and put Green on third. Mendes hit a sacrifice fly that scored the freshman.
Green crushed her first collegiate home run in the top of the fifth, a solo shot to center.
Oklahoma’s offense continued rolling into game two, led by Jocelyn Alo’s 3-for-3 performance and Rogers’ 2-for-2 showing. Rogers, Knighten and Sydney Romero all finished with two RBIs, and Knighten and Falepolima Aviu both earned a pair of hits.
The Sooners took a one-run lead in the bottom of the first. An error put a pair of Sooners on second and third, and Romero capitalized with a sacrifice fly to right field that brought Clifton home. The sac fly was the eighth of Romero’s career, tying for fifth all-time in OU history.
Rogers added to OU’s lead in the second with her second home run of the day, a solo shot to center field.
Syracuse scored on an error in the third to cut into OU’s lead, but the Sooners responded with a seven-run fourth inning.
With runners on first and second, Romero doubled to center to plate Clifton. Aviu then singled to center to bring Alo home before a single from Knighten in right center drove in both Romero and Aviu.
Green doubled to the same location as Knighten, bringing pinch runner Audrie LaValley home from first. Rogers then singled up the middle, giving Green room to reach home. Rogers was driven in by a perfectly-placed single by Alo in right field.
Giselle Juarez and Shannon Saile combined in the circle. Juarez earned her second win of the year, allowing one run on three hits over 4.0 innings while striking out a pair. Saile closed the final frame, retiring the side and fanning one batter.
OU closes out the GCU Kickoff Tournament on Sunday with a 10:30 a.m. CT matchup against San Diego State.