College softball: Oklahoma hands Tennessee first loss at home
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 9/9 Oklahoma continued its impressive run against ranked competition with a 9-0 win at No. 12/13 Tennessee Saturday afternoon at the Tennessee Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. It was Oklahoma's 11th straight win overall, extending a season best streak.
After losing its first three matchups against top-25 teams this season, Oklahoma has won now six in a row against ranked teams and eight of its past nine such matchups. In fact, during the current six-game win streak over top-25 teams OU has outscored those teams 31-6.
Sophomore Paige Parker has been a key reason for OU’s success during that stretch. In the last six top-25 games, she’s given up just three earned runs in 43.0 innings for a miniscule 0.49 earned run average.
She was at her best Saturday against Tennessee as the Sooners handed the Lady Vols their first lost at home this year and snapped a 19-game win streak at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium dating back to last season. In fact, it was OU's first ever game in Knoxville.
Parker tossed her ninth shutout of the season as she struck out seven with just one walk. She gave up five hits but didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth inning. No runner got beyond second as Parker improved to 22-3 on the season.
She also didn’t allow Tennessee to get a hit with runners in scoring position (0-4), with runners on base (0-12) or with two outs (0-7).
Erin Miller was 3-4 to tie a season high in hits and extend her hitting streak to a career best 11 games; two of the three hits were doubles to mark her second career multi-double game.
The Sooners got on the scoreboard in the second inning.
Freshmen Caleigh Clifton led off with a single through the right side. She was then off with the pitch as fellow freshman Fale Aviu batted. That forced shortstop Meghan Gregg to cover second base, opening a hole on the left side that Aviu sliced a single through.
Two batters later, on a 2-1 pitch, sophomore Nicole Pendley smashed a three-run homer to straight-away center field. Her fourth homer of the season, and third against ranked teams, spotted OU a 3-0 lead.
Oklahoma added two more runs in the third.
Miller started the frame with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, freshman Shay Knighten doubled over Shaliyah Geathers’ head in right field, bringing home Miller. Knighten then stole third and came home when Aviu powered a single into left center, putting OU on top 5-0.
Oklahoma kept the pressure up in the fourth.
With one out, sophomore Kelsey Arnold sent a ground ball to short that was misplayed by Meghan Gregg for an error. Miller batted next, and after a foul ball was dropped by Megan Geer at third base for another error, Miller singled through the right side allowing Arnold to reach third.
The hustle from Arnold to third paid off when freshman Sydney Romero hit a grounder to second base. The Lady Vols tried to turn a 4-6-3 double play but Romero easily beat the relay throw at first and Arnold crossed the plate to make it 6-0 for Oklahoma.
Another error from Tennessee in the sixth inning resulted in another Oklahoma run.
Sophomore Lea Wodach led off with a grounder to third base that Geer let get under her glove for her second error of the game and the fourth for the Lady Vols. A sacrifice bunt from Arnold moved pinch runner Raegan Rogers into scoring position.
Miller looked for her fourth hit of the game but her line drive to center field was caught by CJ McClain on a leaping grab. Rogers was able tag up and reach third on the play, while Romero then drove her in with a sharp single to left field.
For good measure, Oklahoma added more runs in the seventh when Wodach hit a two-run double to the gap in right center.