Sooners Blank Missouri State in Home Opener
NORMAN – Playing in its first home game of the season, the No. 4/6 Oklahoma softball team shut out Missouri State 6-0 at Marita Hynes Field on Friday night.
The win was OU's 10th of the season and marked the Sooners' sixth shutout of the year as Missouri State fell to 8-7. So far, OU (10-2) has outscored its opponents 66-11 in 2018.
Additionally, Oklahoma is now 40-8 all-time in home openers with 24 straight victories, including shutouts in each of the last eight such games.
OU was led at the plate by freshman Jocelyn Alo, who was 2-for-4 with one run scored and three RBI, matching a season high. Senior Kelsey Arnold and junior Shay Knighten were both 2-for-3 at the plate, each scoring one run in the contest.
The Sooners jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, sparked by Nicole Mendes’ lead-off triple off the left-center wall, her first triple of the season and the fourth of her career. The next batter, freshman Jocelyn Alo, then recorded her first home run at Marita Hynes Field with a blast to right center, giving OU the early 2-0 advantage. The homer was Alo's sixth of the year.
OU then doubled its lead in the second frame off the bats of Lea Wodach and Alo. Arnold singled with a slap through the left side and was plated as Wodach doubled to left center. Wodach was driven in as Alo singled to the same location, her third RBI of the night.
In the bottom of the fouth, Shay Knighten singled with two outs and was advanced to third as Sydney Romero reached on a hit to center field. Raegan Rogers then singled through the left side to plate Knighten and extend the Sooner lead.
The Sooners added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Alo reached on a fielder's choice, and classmate Alexa Schultz was sent in to pinch run. Schultz moved to second as pinch hitter Vanessa Taukeiaho drew a walk, and Romero plated Schultz with a single up the middle. The RBI was Romero's 14th of the season, a team high.
Paige Parker, Parker Conrad and Paige Lowary combined in the circle for the shutout. Parker earned the win to move to 6-1 on the season, allowing one hit over 4.2 innings while registering eight strikeouts. Conrad threw 1.1 innings, surrendering one hit and tallying two strikeouts, and Lowary closed the final inning, forcing groundouts to Eliyah Flores from all three batters.
Through 12 games this season, the OU pitching staff has a combined 0.69 ERA. The Sooners are the only team in the Big 12 to have a combined ERA below 1.00. Individually, Parker holds a 0.37 ERA through 38.1 innings of work while Lowary has a 0.45 ERA through 15.2 frames. In 3.1 innings this year, Conrad has yet to give up a run, earned or unearned.
The Sooners continue the Courtyard Marriott Tournament on Saturday. OU will face Abilene Christian at 2:30 p.m. CT before a rematch with Missouri State at 5 p.m. CT. The game can be heard on KEBC 1560 AM in Norman or online via The Franchise 2 and will be streamed on SoonerSports.tv for premium subscribers.