A six-run third inning, highlighted by a Shelby Pendley grand slam, broke open a scoreless game as Oklahoma (35-10) cruised to a 8-0, five-inning victory over Central Arkansas (20-30) Tuesday night.
It was OU's 18th run-rule win of the season and pushed its all-time record against the Bears to 7-0, tying Kent State and North Carolina for the most third-most wins against one opponent in program history without a loss.
After two innings passed scoreless, the Sooners broke it open with a six-run third inning. It was the team's biggest output since putting up a 10-spot in the fourth inning at Iowa State on March 30.
The inning started as junior Jessica Vest drew one of her two walks, equaling a career high. She then stole second before junior Georgia Casey walked. Senior Destinee Martinez attempted to move both runners into scoring position with a bunt, but second baseman Sarah Bigej was unable to handle the throw at first base.
With the bases loaded, Pendley jumped on the first pitch she saw and lined a grand slam over the wall in center field. It was her second grand slam of the season and the third of her career. She extended her team lead to 13 homers on the season, and she now has 35 in her OU career and 54 overall.
Senior Brittany Williams followed the grand slam with a single into right field and took third as sophomore Kady Self added her own single to right field. Sophomore Whitney Ellis then drove home Williams with a single back up the middle.
With runners on first and second, a passed ball advanced both into scoring position. Two batters later, sophomore Erin Miller dropped down a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to plate Self and make it 6-0 in favor of the Sooners.
The run-rule went into effect in the next inning as Oklahoma tacked on two more runs thanks to a two-out rally.
Williams picked up her second hit of the day with a single through the right side. Like she did in the previous inning, Self followed with another single. Ellis pulled a single of her own through the left side to fill the bases. Junior Callie Parsons, who had entered the game in the top of the inning as a defensive replacement, then dropped a two-run single into left center to match her season high for runs batted in.
The offensive outburst was coupled with a strong performance in the circle from Casey and Pendley, who combined to throw the team's 12th shutout of the season and second in a row.
Casey made her eighth start of the season and her first since March 7 against Liberty. She recorded her fifth scoreless appearance of the year as she allowed three hits with no walks and two strikeouts to improve her record to 3-2. It was her longest outing since throwing 3.0 innings in a start against Northwestern on Feb. 21.
With OU ahead 6-0 after three innings, Pendley came on in relief and proceeded to throw a career-high five strikeouts in two innings of work. Her previous career best came in game one of a doubleheader against Wichita State on April 8 when she struck out three.
The Sooners are back on the field Wednesday when they complete a makeup game against North Texas, which was originally scheduled for March 26 but was rained out. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Marita Hynes Field.