Road Trip Begins this Weekend at Kansas
NORMAN — The No. 2/2 Oklahoma softball team kicks off an 11-game road swing this weekend, traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for a three-game series at Kansas.
The 11-game road trip marks the longest streak of true road games under 25th-year head coach Patty Gasso. In its program history, Oklahoma has only ever played more consecutive true road contests once, opening the 1981 season with 12 straight away games.
Friday and Sunday’s games will be broadcast via ESPN+, and Saturday and Sunday’s contests can be heard on the air on KEBC 1560 AM or online through the Franchise 2.
LAST TIME OUT
Playing in their only full home conference series of 2019, the Sooners swept Baylor 7-5, 8-0 (5) and 16-0 (5) last weekend at Marita Hynes Field.
Sydney Romero powered the Sooner offense in game one, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs, hitting a triple and a home run. Entering the game with a two-run advantage, Shannon Saile earned her fourth save of the season by retiring all six batters she faced over 2.0 innings.
In game two, Caleigh Clifton, Grace Green and Lynnsie Elam all tallied a pair of hits. Green and Shay Knighten both homered to finish with multiple RBIs: Green recorded four while Knighten collected two. Mariah Lopez earned her fifth shutout of the season, scattering three hits over 5.0 innings while striking out five.
The Sooners reached their second-highest run total of the 2019 season in the weekend finale. Clifton went 2-for-2 with a home run and a triple, scoring three runs and driving in four. Romero finished 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI, while Falepolima Aviu was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Also registering multiple RBIs was freshman Sami Skelly, who drilled a three-run, pinch-hit home run. Saile made her seventh start of the season in the circle, improving to 7-1 on the year.
With 25 consecutive wins, Oklahoma holds the longest active winning streak in Division I softball. The streak marks the seventh time in program history the Sooners have strung together 20 straight wins and is the fourth-longest winning streak in OU annals.
Oklahoma has also won 31 straight Big 12 games, marking an OU and a Big 12 record. Its last conference loss was to Baylor in Norman on April 23, 2017.
The Sooners will be road tested in 2019 with 38 of their 51 games being held on the road or at neutral sites. Oklahoma will play just 13 games at Marita Hynes Field in 2019. OU has played fewer regular season home games just three other times in the Patty Gasso era: nine in 1997, 12 in 1996 and six in 1995.
Additionally, 13 home games is the third-lowest total in the country among major conference teams this season. Only Oregon State and Iowa have fewer, each scheduled to host 12 home games in 2019.
The Sooners are playing a road-heavy schedule primarily due to Big 12 scheduling. In 2018, the Sooners’ series against Iowa State was moved to Norman due to snow in Ames, Iowa. As a result, Oklahoma will travel to Ames in both 2019 and 2020 and will host just four conference games (Baylor series and one Bedlam contest) in Norman this year.
Oklahoma has shown to be up to the test, winning 48 of its last 49 true road contests, including six in 2019.
ROMERO NAMED FINALIST FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Senior Sydney Romero is proving to be one of the best players in the country this season. She currently ranks fourth among Division I softball players in total bases (112), ninth in hits (56), ninth in runs per game (1.22), 11th in slugging percentage (.911), 12th in batting average (.455) and 13th in home runs (14) and strikeout rate (41.0 AB/K).
Romero leads all active Division I players with 286 career hits and 765 career at-bats. Additionally, she ranks second with 494 career total bases, third with 197 career RBIs and fourth with 206 career runs scored.
In the OU record books, Romero’s 286 career hits rank fourth, 197 RBIs are fifth and 47 home runs hold sixth.
Romero was also named one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School,” the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Fan voting is open online now through May 20.
AVIU TO BEHOLD
Senior outfielder Falepolima Aviu is currently creating the best offensive production of her career. Aviu’s 2019 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) is .413/.500/.702. All three categories are on pace to be the best-single season stats of her career.
Aviu’s offense has been a significant turnaround from 2018, when the California native finished .276/.376/.417. As a junior, Aviu totaled 43 hits; she has matched that total in 37 games as senior.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with the Jayhawks 66-44, including a 20-12 mark in Lawrence. Oklahoma swept the Jayhawks in 2018 with a trio of wins in Norman.
OU earned a 5-0 victory in game one of the series as Paige Parker and Paige Lowary combined on the shutout. Caleigh Clifton drove in a run when she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Nicole Pendley plated another with a double. Jocelyn Alo hit an inside-the-park home run with two runners on to secure the five-run win.
In game two, a 13-run second inning powered the Sooners to a 15-4, five-inning run-rule win. Raegan Rogers entered the game in the second inning to pinch hit and went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, two runs scored and her first career home run. As a team, the Sooners matched a season high with 10 walks in the game.
The sweep was sealed with a 10-1 run-rule victory in five innings on Sunday. Nicole Mendes and Kelsey Arnold were each 2-for-2 at the plate, both tallying one run and one RBI. Clifton and Falepolima Aviu both homered in the contest.