Sooners Hold Off Cyclones, 4-2No. 5 Oklahoma (30-5) won its sixth straight game and improved to 4-0 in the Big 12 with a 4-2 win over Iowa State (19-12, 0-1) Friday night at Marita Hynes Field.
Friday's win marked the 22nd straight for the Sooners against the Cyclones, its third longest active winning streak against another team. The only longer streaks for OU are 31 straight wins against Wichita State and 25 versus North Texas.
After sweeping last season's meetings in Ames by a score of 35-2, the Sooners were locked in a tight-scoring affair Friday night. It was the closest game in the series since Oklahoma won 3-2 on April 3, 2010, a span of 12 games.
“I think everybody was ready,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “They were going up confident. It was just that we took too long. We had 11 fly balls versus four ground outs. That's 11 free outs that we gave away.
“Everybody was locked in; we just didn't make adjustments until late in the game. We learned some lessons from tonight.”
Oklahoma took advantage of shaky pitching by Iowa State starter Katie Johnson to get the scoring started in the first inning.
Seniors Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley each walked and freshman Paige Parker was hit by a pitch to fill the bases. On the very next pitch, junior Erin Miller was also hit by a pitch to force in Chamberlain and stake the Sooners to a 1-0 lead.
Parker was in control early as she set down the first 11 batters she faced and 12 of the first 13.
Iowa State got its first strong scoring chance in the fifth inning.
Maddie Reese led off the inning with a single to right center. Two batters later, Jorden Spendlove reached on an infield single to Parker in the circle before a fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two out. Facing the Cyclones' No. 9 hitter, Sammie Hildreth, Parker got ahead 0-2 before getting Hildreth to fly out to Miller in right field.
After thwarting ISU in the top of the inning, the Sooners padded their lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Parker led things off with a walk before senior Callie Parsons came on as a pinch runner. A groundout advanced Parsons to second, and junior Kady Self drove her in with a double to left field. Freshman Nicole Pendley then sent an RBI single to right field to score Self and give the Sooners a 3-0 advantage.
““My mindset was trying to hit a hard ground ball, just trying to sneak one through,” Self said. “We'd been hitting a lot of fly balls, so I was really trying to hit it hard on the ground somewhere.”
Iowa State got those two runs back in the top of the sixth.
Cathlin Bingham reached safely on a one-out error, and ISU got on the board when Aly Cappaert hit a two-run home run to center field for her third long-ball of the year.
The Sooners picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as they once again took advantage of erratic pitching from the Cyclones.
Freshman Kelsey Arnold walked, as did Chamberlain. After a pair of flyouts, Miller also walked to fill the bases. Self then picked up her second RBI of the game when she drew a five-pitch walk to force in a run.
Iowa State got a runner on and the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but couldn't get any closer. Kelsey McFarland reached on a one-out single but a fielder's choice at second base and a pop up ended the game.
Parker got the win for the Sooners and improved her team-best record to 15-3. She struck out two and walked none while allowing six hits and two runs, one of which was unearned.
The Sooners and Cyclones close out the series Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader starting at noon.
Cowgirl Softball Suffers 10-5 Defeat from No. 23 Kansas
The Oklahoma State softball team dropped its second-consecutive decision to No. 23 Kansas on Friday, as the Cowgirls were defeated, 10-5, at Cowgirl Stadium.
Oklahoma State (17-20, 1-4) outhit the Jayhawks, 9-8, and scored in five of seven innings, but was unable to avenge a 7-6 defeat on Thursday.
“I can't say that's the way we wanted to respond after last night, but I still liked the way we battled after falling behind again tonight,” head coach Rich Wieligman said. “We outhit them and produced several scoring chances. We've just got to learn how to prevent that one bad inning that we seem to have from time to time.”
After scoring all seven of its runs in the final two innings of Thursday's contest, KU continued its scoring tear in the first, as Chaley Brickey led off with a solo home run to right. The visiting side continued to battle against OSU starter Jessi Haffner, but Tiffany Mikkelson eventually cut down the threat with an inning-ending 5-3 double play.
The Cowgirls would provide an immediate response in the bottom of the frame, thanks to a two-out rally sparked by Mikkelson. The Cowgirl third baseman worked an eight-pitch walk to bring up Shippy, who delivered a run-scoring double to left-center. Oklahoma State's first inning run marked the 14th time the team has scored in the opening frame this season, continuing a trend of coming out to a hot start.
Kansas would stage a two-out rally of its own in the second, backed by Brickey's RBI double. The extra base-hit opened the door for Maddie Stein, who lined a run-scoring single just out of Randee O'Donnell's reach at short, allowing a second run to score.
An unearned run put Oklahoma State within one in the third, but the Jayhawks answered with four runs in the fourth, pushing their lead to 7-2. With one down and runners on first and second, Haffner fielded a slow grounder to the circle, but fired wide on a force attempt at third, allowing Taylor McElhaney to score from second. The mishap proved to be costly, as the visiting side would go on to add three more runs on two bases-loaded walks and a single.
The two squads swapped pairs of runs in the fifth, with the Cowgirls scoring on a two-run single from Shippy, who finished the evening with her second-consecutive three-RBI effort.
Oklahoma State will look to end the weekend on a high note in Saturday's series finale, set to begin at 1 p.m.