Homestand Ends with Run-Rule Victory
NORMAN – In its final contest of a season-long homestand, the No. 3/3 Oklahoma softball team earned an 8-0, five-inning win over RV/No. 25 Northwestern on Sunday afternoon at Marita Hynes Field.
The Sooners (20-2) finished the home stretch 7-0 to extend their home winning streak to 41 straight games, good for the second-longest streak in program history.
Additionally, Sunday's win over Northwestern (17-6) marked OU's ninth run-rule win and 10th shutout of the season.
"I think this was one of the best – if not the best – games that we've played all season," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "I think everything was on target... They bowed up, they swung well, they played good defense.
"It was, to me, a very fun team to watch today," Gasso continued. "Everybody in the lineup, one through nine, had a hit today. When you can spread it out like that, it's very smothering to an opponent... I'm really proud of this team. They played really well today."
Playing on her senior day, Falepolima Aviu powered the Oklahoma offense against the Wildcats. She went 3-for-3 at the plate with one home run and one double, finishing with two RBIs and a run scored.
"It just felt like a normal game to me, just going out there and playing together," Aviu said of her performance on Sunday. "It reminds me of our BP tops that say 'Stronger Together.' Anything that we do, we're stronger together, and I felt like that's the type of game (that shows) what it looks like."
Aviu opened scoring in the bottom of the second, leading off the frame with a home run to left center. It was her second homer in as many games, also putting OU in the lead with a solo shot on Saturday evening against GCU.
After a pair of hits by Jocelyn Alo and Grace Green, freshman Grace Lyons crushed her second home run of the weekend, a three-run shot to the same location as Aviu.
Sophomore Lynnsie Elam followed with her first career home run. It marked the third time this season and the second time this weekend that two Sooners hit back-to-back home runs; Sydney Romero and Shay Knighten also did so against the Wildcats on Friday night.
With two runners in scoring position later in the second, Knighten drove in Nicole Mendes from third. Aviu then hit her second extra-base hit of the inning, an RBI double to center that plated Romero.
OU moved into run-rule territory in the bottom of the fourth as an infield grounder by Eliyah Flores gave pinch runner Audrie LaValley the space to reach home.
Juniors Giselle Juarez and Mendes combined on the shutout in the circle. Juarez improved to 9-0 on the season, scattering two hits while striking out six over 4.0 innings.
Mendes entered the circle in the top of the fifth, allowing one hit and registering two strikeouts.
Up next, the Sooners head to their final regular-season tournament March 14-16, facing UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, Dartmouth, CSUN and Illinois at the LMU/CSUN Tournament in Los Angeles and Northridge, Calif.