NORMAN – Driven by a 13-run second inning, the No. 2/2 Oklahoma softball team run ruled Kansas 15-4 in five innings on Saturday at Marita Hynes Field.
With the win, the Sooners (37-2 overall) moved to 11-0 in Big 12 play, marking OU's best conference start in program history. The Sooners extended their nation-leading win streak to 28 games and have now won 23 straight games at Marita Hynes Field, dating back to the 2017 season.
OU's 13 runs in the second inning were its most in a single frame since scoring 17 in the fourth of game two of a doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 28, 2014.
Junior Raegan Rogers led the Sooners at the plate with a spectactular performance. Entering the game in the second inning to pinch hit, Rogers went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, two runs scored and her first career home run. Her totals for hits, runs and RBIs were all single-came career highs.
“This is the epitome of what hard work and determination looks like,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said of Rogers’ performance. “She is constantly asking questions: ‘How can I get better?’ She’s always the one saying, ‘Tell me what I need to do to get better.’ And then, she puts it to play. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk... She’s been really doing a good job of hitting the ball hard, working hard in the outfield. She’s earned everything she’s got and she keeps opening up the door for more.”
Kelsey Arnold also recorded multiple hits on the day, going 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored and a walk on her senior day. Additionally, Jocelyn Alo, Nicole Pendley, Caleigh Clifton, Kylie Lundberg and Fale Aviu all had multiple RBIs in the contest as each drove in two.
As a team, the Sooners matched a season high with 10 walks in the game. Sydney Romero, Pendley and Clifton each drew two apiece.
Mariah Lopez and Parker Conrad combined in the circle on Saturday. Lopez remained perfect on the season, improving to 12-0, as she allowed one run on four hits over 3.0 innings while walking two and striking out six.
Conrad closed the final 2.0 innings, allowing three hits and three runs, all of which were unearned. She also walked one batter and struck out a pair.
The Jayhawks opened scoring in the top of the first when Jessie Roane hit a solo home run to left field.
In the bottom of the first, OU tied the game as Lundberg drew a walk with the bases loaded to bring Romero home.
The Sooner offense then exploded for 13 runs in the second. Pendley followed Lundberg’s lead, earning a walk with three runners on to plate Arnold and to put OU on top.
With the bases still loaded, Clifton singled down the left-field line, driving in Romero and Alo. A grounder from Lundberg advanced two runners to second and third, and Rogers singled through the left side to drive in Pendley and Clifton.
Lea Wodach singled up the middle and Arnold walked to load the bases again. Aviu capitalized on the opportunity with a base hit to right field that brought Rogers and Wodach across home plate.
After Romero drew a base on balls, Alo singled to center to score Arnold and Aviu. Pendley then singled to left to drive in Romero from third.
The bases were loaded once more when Clifton drew a walk, and Lundberg wore a pitch to bring pinch runner Alexa Schultz home.
Finally, Rogers singled up the middle to drive in Pendley and Clifton. The hit was OU's fifth two-RBI single of the inning and Rogers' second.
After the third inning was scoreless, Rogers added to the Sooner lead with her first career home run, a solo shot to left field.
“That was awesome to see my team there (at home plate) and how excited they were for me,” Rogers said. “I was just trying to go up and hit the ball hard, and it worked.”
The Jayhawks scored three runs in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Shelby Gayre and a two-run homer by Becki Monaghan. All three runs were unearned, and they were not enough to get KU out of run-rule territory as the Sooners claimed their 15th run-rule win of the season.
With the Saturday win, OU claimed the series win over the Jayhawks. The Sooners are now undefeated in their last 47 Big 12 series, going 43-0-4 in that span.
“There were tough conditions today for both teams without question,” Gasso said. “I was really proud of this group and how they handled it. Kansas did a good job of coming out and scoring first. We answered that, and then it was somewhat, ‘Away we go.’ They had a goal to be better than they were yesterday, and I think they did that. They did a good job of that.”
The series finale between OU and KU is set for Sunday with a 2 p.m. CT first pitch. It will be streamed on SoonerSports TV for premium subscribers and can be heard on the air via KEBC 1560 AM or online through the Franchise 2.