Oklahoma's power Friday night didn't come from the top of their order where Big 12 Player of the Year Erin Miller leads things off. Instead it came from their seven hole where Nicole Pendley bats as he Sooners used the bottom part of their lineup to set the tone in their regional opener, against Wichita State, with a five-run first inning that saw the Sooners send ten batters to the plate, and was highlighted by a grand slam home run from Pendley. There was no looking back from OU after that as a strong pitching performance from Paige Parker overpowered Wichita State's lineup.
The Shockers got two runs back in the top of the third when Cacy Williams knocked in Brittany Fortner with a double to center field. Williams would then score off a Liz Broyles single to right to pull Wichita State to within 5-2.
Erin Miller drove in Kady Self in the bottom of the third to push Oklahoma's lead back up to four at 6-2. The Sooners weren't quite done yet as Fale Aviu would come home off the bat of Lea Woodach in the bottom of the fifth to bring it back to a five-run Oklahoma lead and provide the final 7-2 score.
Wichita State's Brittany Fortner says that it was Parker's ability to mix up her pitches kept them off keel. "She kept us off speed with her change up and rise ball," Fortner said.
Outside of the third inning Parker dominated the Shockers lineup. She fanned nine of the twenty-eight batters she faced and held WSU to just two runs and five hits. She grew stronger as the game moved on, retiring the final six batters in a row to close out the sixth and seventh innings.
Parker's counterpart Katie Malone didn't survive the first inning and was responsible for all five of Oklahoma's runs scored in that opening frame. She was replaced by Jenni Brooks who went the distance, giving up just two runs over the final 5.1 innings.
Sooners head coach Patty Gasso was obviously pleased with her team's performance on the evening but praised the bottom of her lineup. "Our 5, 6, 7 batters are hitting .500 over the last five games," Gasso said, "and that's keyed our success."
Gasso is hoping for similar success on Saturday as her Sooners face Ole Miss and their All-Conference pitcher Madi Osias. "We're not intimidated by any pitcher," Gasso said. Saturday should be fun! First pitch is set for 1:30 PM.