Tournament Play Concludes in California
March 14-16 | Los Angeles | Northridge, Calif.
NORMAN — After two weeks at home, the No. 2/2 Oklahoma softball team goes back on the road this weekend. The Sooners will make their second trip to California of the year to play in the LMU/CSUN Tournament, facing UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, Dartmouth, CSUN and Illinois in Los Angeles and Northridge, Calif.
The Sooners open their final regular season tournament on Thursday in Los Angeles at LMU’s Smith Field, taking on UCSB (11 a.m. CT) before facing the home team at 4 p.m. CT. OU then heads to Northridge to face Dartmouth (noon CT) and CSUN (4:30 p.m. CT) on Friday. The trip ends on Saturday back in Los Angeles against Illinois (11 a.m. CT).
All five games can be heard on the air through KEBC 1560 AM in Norman or online via the Franchise 2, and links for live stats will be available through SoonerSports.com. Additionally, OU’s game against CSUN is slated to be streamed through the Big West Conference.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners closed out their longest homestand of the season over the weekend with a 4-0 performance in their second straight tournament at Marita Hynes Field. Overall, OU went 7-0 in the home stretch to extend its home winning streak to 41 games, good for the second-longest streak in program history.
On Friday, freshman Grace Lyons and seniors Sydney Romero, Shay Knighten and Kylie Lundberg all homered while Giselle Juarez and Shannon Saile combined on a one-hitter to lead the Sooners to a 7-0 victory over RV/No. 25 Northwestern.
Oklahoma swept its Saturday doubleheader, defeating Drake 5-2 and GCU 1-0. Against the Bulldogs, Juarez and Saile combined to strike out 14 batters, the second-highest total by the Sooner pitching staff this season. OU out-hit Drake 8-5 as eight different Sooners registered a hit, including a pair of doubles from Romero and Falepolima Aviu.
Against GCU, Aviu hit a solo homer in the second that proved to be the difference maker as Mariah Lopez and Saile combined on the shutout.
The Sooners ended the weekend with a five-inning, run-rule win over Northwestern, 8-0. Aviu, Lyons and Lynnsie Elam all homered to power a seven-run second, and Aviu finished 3-for-3 with two extra-base hits, 2 RBIs and a run.
SAILE NAMED BIG 12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Shannon Saile was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, good for the first Big 12 weekly award of her career. Saile also earned seven Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honors in 2017 and 2018 while at Florida International. Additionally, Saile is the third Sooner to earn the accolade this season, joining classmates Mariah Lopez (Feb. 12 and 19) and Giselle Juarez (Feb. 26).
Saile opened her week with a win against McNeese on Tuesday, tossing the first 4.0 innings and striking out seven. She then combined on a shutout on Friday night against RV/No. 25 Northwestern, closing the final 2.0 frames. The junior wrapped up the week by earning two saves in one day, sealing the Sooners’ wins against Drake and Grand Canyon on Saturday.
Overall, Saile did not surrender a run, finishing as one of three conference pitchers with a perfect 0.00 ERA on the week. She scattered two hits over 9.2 innings of work for a league-best .065 opponent batting average.
Saile struck out 20 batters in her four appearances, good for a conference-leading average of 14.48 strikeouts per seven innings pitched this week. The right-handed pitcher currently leads the nation with 13.1 strikeouts per seven innings in 2019.
Behind Saile’s performance last week, the Sooner pitching staff led the Big 12 in ERA (0.64), opponent batting average (.131), strikeouts per seven innings (11.88) and walks per seven innings (1.70).
After last weekend’s action, all three of OU’s primary pitchers rank in the top 20 nationally in strikeouts per seven innings pitched. Shannon Saile leads the country in the category, averaging 13.1 K/7IP. Also in the top 10 is Mariah Lopez with an average of 10.7. Giselle Juarez ranks 19th with 9.8 K/7IP.
Additionally, Saile and Juarez both rank in the top 20 in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Saile’s rate of 9.67 strikeouts per walk is seventh nationally, while Juarez (7.20 K/BB) ranks eighth.
Overall, the Sooners rank third in the country with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.81. Additionally, the Sooner pitching staff ranks fifth with a 1.28 ERA, led by Lopez’s ERA of 0.76 that ranks 12th.
LAST TIME THEY MET...
Oklahoma leads the all-time series against each of its opponents this weekend: 5-0 vs. UCSB, 5-0 vs. Loyola Marymount, 2-0 vs. Dartmouth, 9-6 vs. CSUN and 4-1-1 vs. Illinois.
The Sooners and the Gauchos have already met once this season, with OU run-ruling UCSB 8-0 on Feb. 24 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in five innings.
Of OU’s five wins over LMU, two have come in Los Angeles. The two teams most recently met on March 16, 2017, at Smith Field as the Sooners won 6-4.
Saturday’s matchup with Dartmouth marks the first between the two programs at a neutral site. Previously, the two teams met for a doubleheader in Norman in March 2016 with OU winning 9-0 in five and 7-0.
OU’s game against CSUN will be the eighth between the two teams in Northridge. Last year, the Sooners narrowly edged the Matadors 2-1 in 11 innings at Matador Diamond.
Sunday will be the first meeting between OU and Illinois in over a decade. The two teams last met in February 200 in Las Vegas when OU won 3-1.
The Sooners return to Marita Hynes Field on Wednesday for a midweek matchup with North Texas. OU then begins conference play next weekend at Texas Tech.