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Oklahoma Sooners Softball Recap: OU buries Baylor, 16-0, for the series sweep

On her senior day, Caleigh Clifton sent a two-run bomb out of the park in the first inning.

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The No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners ran roughshod over Baylor en route to a 16-0 run-rule victory in Sunday’s series finale. With the series sweep over the Lady Bears, OU improved to 35-2 on the season and 6-0 in Big 12 play.

Sunday was also treated as Caleigh Clifton’s Senior Day. The Wayne, Okla. native is second on the team in hits (43), RBI (34), batting average (.430) and home runs (10). On the day, she went two-for-two at the plate, including this two-run homer in the first:

With the blast, Clifton kept alive the growing tradition of seniors hitting home runs on their senior day. When asked if her teammates talked to her about it before the game, she said “They were telling me I had to, but I wasn’t trying to. It felt good to do it.”

Junior Shannon Saile got the start in the circle on Sunday for the Sooners, and she did her part in keeping the Baylor bats in check through three innings pitched. On the day, Saile struck out 4 of the 11 batters she faced, and her ERA now sits at 1.11.

In the bottom of the first, Sydney Romero grounded a ball to the Baylor shortstop, but won the race to first base. She later stole second, and was brought home by the aforementioned Clifton two-run homer. The Sooners would quickly lead 2-0 going into the second inning.

Nicole Mendes copied Romero’s strategy in the first by singling up the middle then stealing second all as the Sooners’ lead-off batter. Later, Grace Lyons stepped up to the plate and doubled to center, allowing Mendes to come home. Fale Aviu followed things up with a single up the middle, bringing Lyons around for another run. Clifton kept her big day going with a triple to add another tally on OU’s board. Finally, Shay Knighten would reach first base after a Baylor error that also led to Clifton scoring, making it 6-0 Oklahoma after two.

Once again, Mendes singled to put the Sooners’ lead-off batter on base. A Romero double to right brought Mendes across the plate, and an Aviu single did the same for Romero. Clifton would return to the batter’s box and ended up walking, putting two on for OU. Pinch hitter Sami Skelly would then make it all count with this huge three-run homer:

Mendes came in to pitch for Saile in the fourth, and Baylor would have its best showing in the same inning, as the Lady Bears managed to put two runners in scoring position. In the end, it was all for naught, as the Sooners’ defense bowed up and left them stranded.

The bottom of the same frame developed like an avalanche in slow motion. Here’s how it went down: Alo was hit by a pitch, Audrie LaValley singled to center, Kinsey Koeltzow singled up the middle for an RBI, LaValley came home on a wild pitch, Eliyah Flores was hit by a pitch, Romero singled to left, Alexa Shultz walked with the bases already loaded, then Clifton was hit by a pitch before Baylor finally recorded its first out of the inning on a sac fly from Knighten. Ultimately, the lead ballooned to 16-0, and that was that.

Up next, Oklahoma travels up to Lawrence on Friday, April 12 for another action-filled series against Big 12 foe Kansas. The 14-24 Jayhawks have especially struggled this season against top flight competition, but playing on the road always presents its own unique challenges. Fortunately for this group of Sooners, those challenges are welcomed (probably in the form of some more run-rule victories).

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