NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma freshman Paige Parker tied an NCAA record by tossing her fourth perfect game of the season as No. 5 Oklahoma (45-7) run-ruled Utah Valley (16-38) in five innings 14-0 on Sunday.
Parker joins Louisiana-Lafayette’s Kyla Hall (1994) and Boston’s Audrey West (1994) as the only pitchers in NCAA Division I history to throw four perfect games in a season. No player has thrown five in one season. In addition, Parker becomes the 16th player in NCAA history to have at least four perfect games in a career.
“It’s truly an honor to know that I did that,” Parker said, referring to tying the NCAA mark. “It’s a testament to hard work and how we work as a team. I couldn’t do that without my defense and the offense, too. That’s important. It was just a big team effort.”
Parker struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced, finishing one off her career high of 13 strikeouts. Eleven of those 12 strikeouts were swinging, and she needed just 64 pitches (45 strikes) to improve her record to 24-5 on the season.
“I was just trying to attack the zone the best that I could and really try to get ahead of batters and go after them,” Parker said. “It seemed to work well for me. It was a good day.”
The only other outs of the game came on a lineout that Parker caught to end the second inning, a foul out to Lauren Chamberlain at first in the third inning and a foul out to Whitney Ellis at catcher to end the contest.
“She struck out 12 of 15 hitters, so she’s just in a really fantastic place right now, especially as a freshman,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “It’s not like we’re playing an offense that can’t handle the bat. They have over 50 home runs this season. They can swing. Paige is just really starting to pinpoint things, and she’s able to call upon a pitch pretty much at any time and nail it.”
Only two Wolverines even got to a three-ball count against Parker. Brianna Gatlin struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth, while pinch hitter Kristy Snyder was the toughest out in the fifth. Snyder worked it to a full count and then fouled off four consecutive pitches, but Parker finished her off with a swinging strikeout to get her 12th punchout of the game.
Earlier this season, Parker twirled perfect games at Hawaii on Feb. 7 and against Missouri State on March 7 and East Carolina on March 14. She is tied with Lauren Eckermann for the second-most no-hitters in a career in school history. Only Keilani Ricketts has more no-hitters in a career (7) and in a season (6) for the Sooners.
Oklahoma’s offense aided Parker by hitting five home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning. OU has 99 homers on the season as a team, three off the school and Big 12 record of 102 set in 2012.