It was another successful weekend for the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners at the softball complex of Marita Hynes Field. After the four-game slate in the OU Tournament, Patty Gasso’s team improved to 20-2 on the season.
Things got started with Northwestern on Friday night. The Big Ten program stayed within reach of the Sooners through three innings, with a solo homer by freshman Grace Lyons accounting for the only run midway into the contest. Then the fourth frame happened, and it was all Oklahoma. Seniors Sydney Romero, Shay Knighten and Kylie Lundberg all smacked the stitching off the ball in the bottom of the inning, producing six total runs and effectively finishing off the Wildcats. Junior pitcher Giselle ‘G’ Juarez got the start in the circle, striking out six batters in 5.0 innings pitched. OU would take the W, 7-0.
Saturday’s double header was welcomed with amazing weather and headlined by excellent pitching. First up was Drake, and the runs came early. In the bottom of the second, a combination of perfectly placed hits and Drake errors allowed three Sooners to work through the bases and come home. The Bulldogs would answer right way with a pair of runs in the top of the third, but it wouldn’t be enough to rattle Oklahoma. A couple of insurance runs in the fifth scored by Raegan Rogers and Sydney Romero, along with an exceptional 14-K day from Juarez and Shannon Saile would wrap up the 5-2 victory.
The second half of the double header came against Grand Canyon, who Oklahoma previously defeated in the second game of the season. Round two proved to be much more challenging, as it turned into quite the pitching duel. Fortunately for the Sooners, the tandem of junior pitchers Mariah Lopez and Saile was the right mixture, as they combined for 12 strikeouts and gave up just two hits. The lone run of the nightcap came from senior Fale Aviu, who knocked it out of the park for the third time this season. Sooners found the win column once again, 1-0.
Pitching on point. @ggotgame45, @shannieflame and @Mariahjordannn combined on 2⃣6⃣ strikeouts in today's doubleheader!— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) March 10, 2019
vs. Drake: https://t.co/6nJJg6Afca
vs. GCU: https://t.co/UO3pjGUQrG pic.twitter.com/4GEsKyJzaG
While all the winning was happening on the field Saturday, in the park, Sooner fans set a new attendance record at Marita Hynes Field, which now sits at 1,970.
Today's combined attendance: 1,970— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) March 10, 2019
THANK YOU, Sooner fans, for helping break the attendance record at Marita Hynes Field! ☝️ pic.twitter.com/npcCm52S6c
The weekend finale was a Sunday rematch against Friday’s opponent, Northwestern. While the weather was not as warm as the previous day’s, the Sooners’ bats were scorching hot. Fale Aviu, Grace Lyons and Lynnsie Elam all sent it out of the park in the bottom of the second en route to a seven-run inning that put this one to bed early. Giselle Juarez was dynamite again in the circle, and Nicole Mendes stepped into the circle in the fifth to wrap up the 8-0 run-rule victory.
It was certainly a complete game from the team, top to bottom, and Patty Gasso said as much after the game. “It was just one of the best, if not the best game that we’ve played all season. I think everything was on target. It’s always hard on Sunday because it’s been a long weekend. The weather’s not always ideal playing in this, but they bowed up, swung well, they played good defense.”
Perhaps the top freshman on the team 22 games into the season is Grace Lyons, who had another solid weekend and made one of the top plays of the season with a diving grab off a tip. Of Lyons, Gasso said her “play in the 5-6 hole set a good tone.” Here is that remarkable web gem.
On the season, Sydney Romero maintains her team lead with 30 hits, seven home runs and 20 RBI. In the circle, Juarez had a monster weekend, improving her record to 9-0.
Up next, Oklahoma heads west to California to partake in the LMU/CSUN Tournament, named after Loyola Marymount and California State, Northridge. The tourney begins on Thursday, March 14th, and runs through Saturday, March 16.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!