Doubleheader Sweep Seals Series Win at ISU
AMES, Iowa – The No. 1/1 Oklahoma softball team claimed the conference series at Iowa State with 8-3 and 9-2 wins in Friday's doubleheader at the Cyclone Sport Complex.
The Sooners (44-2, 14-0 Big 12) have won a nation-leading 34 consecutive games, extending their program record set on Wednesday night.
Additionally, OU has claimed 39 straight wins in Big 12 play, a school and conference record. The Sooners are undefeated in their last 53 league series (49-0-4 in that span), winning or splitting every series since 2011.
The Sooners hit six homers over the two games. Shay Knighten drilled two in the first contest while Jocelyn Alo and Lynnsie Elam both hit one in each game.
"Iowa State plays hard and swings hard," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "If they're going to score a few runs like they did, our offense has got to stay in front of these guys... I was really happy to see some of these guys like Alo and Elam hitting hard.
"I'm very proud of this team," she continued. "Playing a doubleheader when you're tired is not easy to do. I'm proud of them and it'll reward them by having a day to rest tomorrow. It'll help us a ton. Overall, we weren't as sharp as we normally are, but it's two wins, and that's huge for us."
In game one, Giselle Juarez improved to 19-0 on the year with the win in the circle. She registered 10 strikeouts in her seventh complete game of the season, marking her seventh showing this season with double-digit strikeouts.
Oklahoma jumped on top with six runs on three homers in the top of the second. Knighten drilled one to center field before Elam hit her third of the season off the left-field foul pole.
With two outs, Sydney Romero singled before Falepolima Aviu and Caleigh Clifton drew walks to load the bases. Alo capitalized, crushing a homer to right center for her first career grand slam.
The Cyclones scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Nearad scored on an error before Sydney Stites hit an RBI double.
OU responded with two more runs in the top of the fifth. Knighten hit her second home run of the day, marking her fourth career game with multiple homers.
Raegan Rogers drew a walk before Grace Lyons doubled to drive her in.
Stites opened the bottom of the seventh with a home run for the Cyclones, but Juarez retired the next three batters to seal the win.
Mariah Lopez claimed the win in the second game, moving to 16-1 on the year. The junior surrendered two runs on six hits while striking out seven.
Classmate Shannon Saile closed the contest, registering three shutout innings and retiring all nine batters she faced, including two strikeouts.
Elam homered, doubled and singled in the game to reach a career-high three hits. She drove in three runs, and Lyons registered a pair of RBIs.
The Sooners used another big second inning to jump on top in game two. A sacrifice bunt from Rogers put two runners in scoring position, and an infield single from Elam scored Grace Green. A grounder from Lyons drove in Knighten.
Romero and Aviu then hit back-to-back RBI doubles to grow Oklahoma's advantage to 4-0.
Alo led off the third with her second homer of the doubleheader, a shot to center field for her 10th home run of the season.
Iowa State got on the board in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer from Nearad.
Elam led off the fourth with a double, and pinch runner Audrie LaValley reached third on a wild pitch. Lyons drove her in with a grounder.
In the top of the fifth, Kylie Lundberg pinch hit a single to center field that drove in Green from second. Elam then hit her second home run of the day, a two-run shot to center.
Friday's doubleheader was scheduled due to anticipated inclement weather in Ames on Saturday. The series finale is set for Sunday at noon CT.