No. 2 Oklahoma pulls away late from Kansas, 5-0
NORMAN, Okla. — Second-ranked Oklahoma used a three-run sixth inning to pull away from Kansas softball and take Friday night’s series opener, 5-0, at Marita Hynes Field.
A sunny day turned into a hazy evening at the ballpark as smoke from wildfires raging through northwest Oklahoma drifted over Norman with a strong west wind reaching as high as 25 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, Kansas (25-16, 0-7 Big 12) held the nation’s most productive offense (7.16 runs per game) to two runs through five innings as senior pitcher Sarah Miller (8-7) tossed a six-inning compete game with three strikeouts.
“Sarah had a great performance tonight,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “She showed a lot of toughness in the circle and kept us in the game long enough to give our offense chances. I thought she did an excellent job.”
Miller set the tone early in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts followed by three-straight shutout innings.
Despite giving up an unearned run in the opening inning due to a KU fielding error, the Jayhawks ended the first inning with three Sooners on base as senior third baseman Jessie Roane snagged a sharp line drive to third, which ended the inning.
Roane also brought her A-game offensively with two of KU’s three hits on the night. Her second hit of the night was a two-out double in the sixth inning, which put the tying run at the plate for the Jayhawks and signaled the end of OU All-American pitcher Paige Parker’s start in the circle. Lefty Paige Lowry entered the game in relief to end KU’s scoring opportunity and maintain OU’s two-run lead.
The Sooners (36-2, 10-0) tacked on three runs with a two-out inside-the-park home run by Jocelyn Alo in the bottom of the sixth inning. OU hit back-to-back two-out singles to setup Alo’s deep drive down the right field line. KU right fielder Annie Mehringer dove for the ball and came up injured on the play as Alo rounded the bases.
Lowry retired KU in order in the top of the seventh to complete her sixth save of the season. Parker (20-1) finished after 5.2 innings pitched with five strikeouts to eventually earn her Big 12-leading 20th victory of the season.
Game two of the Kansas-Oklahoma series in Norman is on Saturday at 4 p.m. Central. The Jayhawk Radio Network will broadcast the action on KUAthletics.com/radio or Kansas City’s ESPN Radio (KCTE 1510 AM & 99.3 FM).
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