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Oklahoma Sooners Softball Ends Weekend With Third Consecutive Win

The Oklahoma Sooners got their 2016 softball campaign off to a rocky start over the weekend, while playing in the Sportco Kick Off Classic in Las Vegas, but ended strongly.

Friday saw the Sooners fall to #13 Minnesota, 1-0, in a pitcher's duel. Paige Parker was fantastic through 6.1 innings for the Sooners, fanning 9 batters and allowing just a single run off four hits, but she was overshadowed by her counterpart. Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen went seven full innings and kept OU off the scoreboard by allowing just two hits and striking out fourteen Oklahoma batters.

In Friday's second game, the Sooners fell hard to #19 Washington by a final score of 10-3. Oklahoma scored their first two runs of the season in the bottom of the first when Sydney Romero doubled to center field, scoring Fale Aviu and Nicole Pendley. The Huskies then went on to plate seven unanswered runs over the next four innings and ultimately cruised to victory.

After dropping back-to-back contests to ranked opponents, Oklahoma's offense came alive on Saturday in a 12-2 rout of Lamar. Parker picked up her first win of the season, in just three innings of work, but striking out six batters and allowing just two hits. Nicole Pendley went 2-of-3 from the plate and scored twice, while Fale Aviu also crossed home plate twice. The Sooners exploded for five runs in the opening frame and run-ruled Lamar in five innings.

The ladies evened their season record at 2-2 in Saturday's nightcap with a 7-0 win over Syracuse. After getting rocked by Washington on Friday, Kelsey Stevens went the distance for OU and recorded the team's first shutout of the season. Catcher Whitney Montgomery went 3-for-3 from the plate with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored to propel Oklahoma's offense.

Parker and Stevens teamed up for Oklahoma's third consecutive win, and second consecutive shutout, in Sunday's 7-0 win over Long Beach State in the finale. Parker went the first three innings of the game and Stevens closed it out by tossing the final four innings and picked up her second win of the season in the process. Sydney Romero went 3-of-4 from the plate and was backed up by Erin Miller and Kady Self who each went 2-of-3 with Miller also pelting her second homer of the season.

The 8th ranked Sooners left Las Vegas with a 3-2 overall record but are currently riding a three-game winning streak with two shutouts during that span. Even so, it has to be a bit alarming that they are 0-2 against ranked competition. One of the trademarks of a Patty Gasso coached team is marked improvement as the season moves on. Gasso is working with a large group of underclassmen and there's nothing from the weekend to indicate that 2016 won't bring the type of improvement that is standard to Oklahoma softball. OU will travel to Las Cruces, N.M. this weekend for the Troy Cox Classic. There they'll face off against Creighton, New Mexico State, and Western Michigan.