College softball: Balanced Oklahoma play defeats No. 18 Baylor
WACO, Texas – Three home runs aided sophomore Paige Parker’s shutout as No. 12 Oklahoma struck first in a pivotal series at No. 18 Baylor 5-0 Friday night at Getterman Stadium.
The loss was Baylor’s first in Big 12 play as the Bears fell to 28-7 overall and 5-1 in conference action, while the Sooners improved to 4-1 in league play and 28-7 overall.
Two of the league’s best pitchers faced off as Parker took on three-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Heather Stearns. It was the fourth straight game between OU and Baylor where Parker took on Stearns, and it was the third straight game where Parker came out the victor.
Parker struck out five and walked three in tossing her seventh shutout of the year and improving to 15-3 on the season.
It was just the second time all season that the Bears were shut out. Kyla Walker and Shelby Friudenberg combined to go 4-7 (.571), but the rest of the team was just 1-17 (.059) against Parker.
Stearns, meanwhile, took the loss to fall to 15-3 on the season. She gave up a season high five runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The three home runs hit by OU were the most against Baylor this season.
The Bears had scoring opportunities in the second and third innings, stranding a runner on third in the former and runners on the corners in the latter. Parker ended both frames with a strikeout.
The game was scoreless for the first three innings but OU freshman Sydney Romero changed that in the fourth. She blasted a 1-0 pitch deep over the fence in left field for her fifth home run of the season.
Entering the game Baylor had given up two home runs in a game just twice, but the Sooners became the third team to do it in the fifth inning when Miller hit her seventh of the year.
Sophomore Nicole Pendley led off by singling through the right side on the first pitch she saw. Two batters later, Miller pulled a deep drive to right that hit off the top of the wall and bounced back onto the field, but it hit above the yellow home run designation line to push the lead to 3-0.
Going to the bench provided Oklahoma with another home run in the sixth.
Freshman Caleigh Clifton drew a leadoff walk and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Lea Wodach. Senior Tori Nirschl then entered as a pinch hitter. On a 3-2 pitch, Nirschl drilled a two-run home run to center field for her first homer of the year. The blast also extended her season-long hitting streak to four games.
The Sooners now look to clinch a series victory Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.