Softball comes up short in series with Sooners

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer

No. 8 Oklahoma remained in first place in the Big 12, taking two of three from No. 13 Baylor in a weekend series that was delayed until Saturday due to severe storms that moved into the Norma, Okla. area Friday night.

The Sooners needed an extra inning rally to top the Lady Bears 3-2 on Saturday. Baylor then started strong and held on for a 4-3 win in Sunday’s opener before dropping the finale 6-0 to the Sooners.

Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said that as disappointing as the series loss was, his team battled and that kind of effort will benefit the Lady Bears moving forward.

“After a gut-wrenching loss on Saturday, I couldn’t have asked for a better response from this team,” Moore said. “We are disappointed in the series loss, but it could have easily gone our way, and we know that. This weekend will pay dividends in post season.”

On Saturday, Oklahoma sophomore outfielder Fal Aviu delivered the key hit and the No. 6 Sooners survived a 10-inning affair with No. 13 Baylor 3-2.

After falling behind 2-1 in the top of the tenth on a run scoring single from freshman outfielder Maddison Kettler, the Sooners responded against senior starter Kelsee Selman.

Following a double and a walk in the tenth, Aviu roped the game-winning double into the left field corner, scoring two and giving the Sooners the win.

Selman (18-5) went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out nine.

The Bears were only able to manage three hits off of Sooners’ junior starter Paige Parker in 6 1/3 innings but struck for two runs on three hits against junior pitcher Paige Lowary. Lowary (11-1) picked up the win for the Sooners.

Selman dueled both Sooner pitchers for eight shut out innings, taking a no-hitter into the fifth.

Junior infielder Shelby Friudenberg brought in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the ninth but the Sooners responded with an RBI double from freshman utility player Nicole Mendes, sending the game to the tenth where Aviu played the role of hero for the Sooners.

Senior infielder Lindsey Cargill extended her hitting streak to 21 games with a single in the fourth inning.

In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, Baylor scored early and held on to snap Oklahoma’s 17-game winning streak and 33-game home winning streak with a 4-3 win.

Sophomore pitcher Gia Rodoni (12-1) earned the win, allowing three runs on five hits and two strikeouts. Selman, who took the loss in game one, earned the save with two shutout innings.

The Bears struck with two in the first. Junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins and sophomore outfielder Kyla Walker both singled. Cargill moved them both over with a sacrifice bunt before Friudenberg delivered a two-run double for Baylor.

Baylor got two more in the third following an error by the Sooners’ catcher on an aggressive first and third steal by senior second baseman Ari Hawkins. Hawkins then scored on another similar situation where she was able to slide in at home under the tag of the Sooners’ first baseman following a run down.

The Sooners did not go away quietly, scratching across a run in in the fourth and two in the fifth on a two-run home run by sophomore infielder Caleigh Cliffton.

That would be the all the offense for the Sooners against the Bears in game two.

Oklahoma would waste little time finding its offensive groove in game three, preserving the series win and its streak of 27 consecutive Big 12 series wins.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, the Sooners started the rally with two singles and a walk. Junior outfielder Nicole Pendley then sent a grand slam into the seats in right center, putting Oklahoma in front 4-0.

The Sooners added a run in the second on a Baylor error and one more in the sixth on a groundout.

Selman (18-6) was tagged for the loss, her third straight losing decision. She allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and one strikeout.

Parker (18-6) got the win, tossing a complete shutout, allowing five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts for the Sooners.

Baylor was held to just five hits in the finale after collecting 10 in Sunday’s opener. Walker led the way with two hits including a double.

After collecting a hit in each of the first two games, Cargill had her 22-game hitting streak snapped in the loss.

Baylor drops to 36-9 and 9-3 in Big 12 play. The Lady Bears will hit the road to Beaumont for a midweek showdown with Lamar beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Baylor will then host Oklahoma State in a weekend series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Getterman Stadium.

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