No. 8 Oklahoma powers past Jayhawks, 16-7
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 8 Oklahoma’s high-powered offense proved to be too much for Kansas in the second meeting, as the Sooners rallied past the Jayhawks, 16-7, on Friday night at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
The ballgame was knotted up twice before a seven-run fourth inning provided Oklahoma (37-7, 8-0 Big 12) all the momentum it needed to power past Kansas (21-21, 3-8 Big 12). The two squads combined for 23 runs scored and 23 hits, including eight home runs.
“Offensively, we made the adjustments we needed to make (from yesterday’s game) to be competitive,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We put some runs up on the board and had a lot of quality at-bats, so I was really pleased with the offensive adjustments we made.”
Junior catcher Harli Ridling led KU’s offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate and drove in a team-best our RBIs. She hit two of the eight long balls recorded on Friday night. Junior outfielder Erin McGinley also collected a multi-hit performance with a 3-for-3 night at the plate. Nationally-ranked Oklahoma outhit Kansas, 14-9, for the second-straight game.
“We are facing a very tough opponent and a great offense, which we knew coming into the series,” Smith said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it was a tough day for the pitchers. They need to focus on being more competitive in the adverse situations because Oklahoma is going to hit the ball, we know that. We just have to fight.”
Oklahoma struck first in the second game of the series with three runs on two hits in the opening frame. A groundout drove in the first run before sophomore designated player Fale Aviu extended OU’s lead, 3-0, with a two-run home run to right center.
In the home half of the first, senior outfielder Lily Behrmann reached via walk followed by a base hit from McGinley, giving KU a pair of base runners and no outs. Oklahoma starter Mariah Lopez got out of the jam and retired the next three Jayhawks to end the first unscathed.
A walk and pair of base hits loaded the bases for Kansas with one out in the bottom of the second frame. Behrmann drove KU’s first run across with a single through the middle. McGinley recorded her second hit of the game, a two-RBI single, to right center. The junior two-RBI single tied the ballgame, 3-3.
After KU put three runs on the scoreboard in the second, Oklahoma brought in junior lefty Paige Parker in relief. She induced an inning-ending double play to end Kansas’ threat of taking the lead. Parker earned the victory in the circle and improved to 15-5 on the year with her second win of the weekend.
Oklahoma took back the lead, 4-3, in the next half inning on a squeeze bunt play that allowed the go ahead runner to score, but also recorded the second out of the frame.
Kansas answered in the bottom half of the inning after Ridling hit a solo shot over the fence in left field. Ridling’s team-leading seventh long ball knotted the game up four runs each. The Jayhawks had the go ahead run on third base as the third inning rally continued, but Parker got out of the frame without further harm.
In the fourth inning, the Sooners regained a commanding lead after recording 11 runs on eight hits. A single and four home runs brought all the OU runs home. Oklahoma lead, 15-4, over the Jayhawks heading into the home half of the frame.
McGinley recorded her third of the night, a double down the left field line, before a five-pitch walk gave Kansas two runners on with one out in the fourth. Ridling launched her second long ball of the game to drive in three more Kansas runs. Her eighth homer of the season cut Oklahoma’s lead, 15-7.
Oklahoma’s sixth home run of the game in the fifth inning sealed the 16-7 victory over the Jayhawks in the second game of the series. Kansas looks to avoid a series sweep in the final game of the weekend against OU on Saturday afternoon.
Kansas concludes its three-game series with No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday, April 15 at 12 p.m., at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network and FSN.
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