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Sooners Slug Past Louisiana-Lafayette 8-2 In Super Regional Opener

Rich DeCray SBN

Known for an offense that shows no mercy, Louisiana-Lafayette lived up to their reputation when Haley Hayden sent the ball over the left field wall on the first pitch of the game for her eighth home run of the season. The Cajuns would carry a 1-0 lead into the bottom half of the opening frame but Oklahoma wasn't shaken by it.

The Sooners caught UL-Lafayette off guard by leading off the game with back-to-back singles, the second of which resulted in a fielding error that allowed Erin Miller to take second and Caleigh Clifton to reach first. A single by Shay Knighten loaded the bases and put OU in great position with no outs. Fale Aviu, Kady Self, and Lea Wodach all recorded RBIs as the Sooners batted through their order and held a 3-1 lead after the first.

"We weren't surprised," (by the bunts in the first) ULL's Kara Gremillion said. "We knew they wanted to put the ball in play. Still though, it was a measure that paid off for the Sooners with all three bunts being successful and one of them counting for an RBI in a bases-loaded situation. "I know you guys realize you've got the best coach in the world," Lafayette coach Michael Lotief said about Oklahoma's Patty Gasso. "I mean it. She's the best softball coach there is."

"We knew we were going to have our hands full so we wanted to come out early and send a message," Coach Gasso said, and that's exactly what her team did. After Paige Parker sat the Cajuns down in order to start the second, Oklahoma continued their barrage into the bottom half of the frame with the Sooners collecting three more hits. Aviu collected her second and third RBI of the game with a double into center field.

Trailing 5-1, and possibly feeling the pressure of things slipping away, UL-Lafayette put runners on first and second in the top of the third but any threat that the Cajuns could have mounted was thwarted by a double-play.

Lexie Elkins crushed a solo home run over the left field wall to pull ULL to within 5-2 in the top of the sixth but it only served to rejuvenate the Sooners in the bottom half. After Erin Miller led off with a double, Caleigh Clifton and Sydney Romero both left the park to boost the Sooners to their final score of 8-2.

Oklahoma ace Paige Parker gave up the two home runs but struck out seven and held the Ragin' Cajuns to just six hits.

The win boosted Oklahoma's win streak to 26 consecutive games and placed the Sooners just one more win away from reaching the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.