OKLAHOMA CITY – Junior Paige Parker threw a three-hit shutout and sophomore Sydney Romero hit a two-run homer in the first inning as top-seeded Oklahoma (48-8) opened play at the 2017 Big 12 Championship Friday with a 3-0 win over fourth-seeded Texas (31-23).
The Sooners wrap up pool play Friday night against sixth-seeded Texas Tech. With a win over the Red Raiders, OU will clinch a spot in Saturday's title game against Oklahoma State at 4:30 p.m.
Coupled with a three-game sweep in Austin earlier this year, OU beat Texas four times in the same season for the second time in program history (2000). Oklahoma also improved to 40-18 (.690) all-time at the Big 12 Championship, the most wins and highest win percentage in conference history.
The shutout was the fourth of the year for Parker and the 18th by the Sooners. She struck out eight and walked none to improve her record to 19-5 on the season. Parker has now gone 31.2 innings without allowing a run.
Freshman Nicole Mendes was 2-4 to extend her hitting streak to 13 games and her on-base streak to 27 contests. Junior Nicole Pendley also collected two hits, going 2-3 with a double. Romero recorded her 15th multi-RBI game of the year, the most on the team.
Oklahoma opened the scoring in the first inning.
Sophomore Caleigh Clifton was hit by a pitch with one out. It was the 37th time she had been hit in her career, tying Norrelle Dickson for fourth in OU history. Two batters later, fellow sophomore Sydney Romero turned on the first pitch she saw and crushed a two-run home to left field. It was her ninth of the year, tying teammate Shay Knighten for second on the squad.
Of Romero's 19 career home runs, four have now come at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. She hit two last year during the Women's College World Series and one earlier this season against UAB on March 25.
Texas threatened in the fourth as Taylor Ellsworth was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Mickenzi Krpec followed with a single to put two on. Parker came through with a big strikeout of Kelli Hanzel, though, to keep the shutout intact.
The defense came through again in the sixth when Mendes caught a ball with her back against the wall in right field, robbing Devon Tunning of a solo home run.
After Oklahoma's defense saved a run in the top of the inning, Texas' defense cost them a run in the bottom of the frame.
Sophomore Fale Aviu led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Raegan Rogers. A single by Pendley advanced Rogers to second, while a fielder's choice put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Parker hit a popup on the infield but it was dropped by Tunning, allowing Rogers to score.