Oklahoma softball: No. 1 Sooners sweep Baylor in Big 12 opening series

Feb 25, 2022; Cathedral City, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners infielder Tiare Jennings (23) bats against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2022; Cathedral City, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners infielder Tiare Jennings (23) bats against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The No. 1-ranked Oklahoma softball Sooners softball took on the Baylor Bears this weekend in their opening the Big 12 portion of the schedule.

The Bears and Sooners already had a throw-down earlier this month in Hawaii at the Rainbow Wahine Classic. The Sooners won that match-up easily, 12-3, in run rule fashion. Oklahoma also finally returned to Marita Hynes Field. The Lady Sooners had just played one contest on their home field prior to the weekend series with Baylor

OU opened the Baylor series on Friday evening. Baylor actually opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning, breaking through on a wild pitch. The Bears’ lead would not last long, however.

Oklahoma pieced together a three -run inning in the bottom half of the first on a pair of home-run blasts by Jocelyn Alo and Lynnsie Elam. Alo’s was a two-run shot. Elam’s solo blast was her fifth round-tripper in the last six games and fourth in the last two.

Jayda Coleman knocked in a run with a single in the second, and Tiare Jennings slugged a grand slam extending the Oklahoma lead to 8-1.  The Sooners added one more run when Taylon Snow scored from third when Sophia Nugent reached on a fielder’s choice, setting up a run-rule, five-inning finish Freshman Jordy Bahl got the win, her 11th of the season, giving up just one run on two hits and striking out eight.

The Sooners dismantled the Bears again on Saturday, this time a four-hit, 8-0 shutout pitched by sophomore right-hander Nicole May for her ninth win of the season. The OU bats started slow in the game with neither team breaking through in the scoring column until the third inning.

OU scored three times in the third on a two-run double by Elam and a single by Snow. The Sooners did not have any home runs in this game, but they continued to work the bags. OU scored another three-spot in the fourth, once in the fourth and two more in the fifth on RBI by Elam, Jennings and Grace Lyons to finish out the run parade and ring up another run-rule victory in a five-inning shortened game. The Sooners played a gem of a defensive game in game two of the series highlighted by this phenomenal web-gem from Jana Johns.

Or this athletic highlight reel play by Tiare Jennings:

The series finale on Sunday was another kind of day all together. For much of the season so far, Oklahoma has not been tested. In the previous 28 games, the Sooners have only been tested by Utah and Tennessee. Even though the win over No. 3 UCLA did not end in a run-rule victory, the Bruins were no match for the women in crimson.

Baylor was ready after seeing the Sooners three times this year. Sunday’s game was scoreless through five innings. In the sixth, Baylor broke through with an unearned run on a fly-out. Baylor held on to the narrow 1-0 advantage until OU’s final at bat in the seventh inning.

Coleman flew out to open the inning for the Sooners, and Alyssa Brito struck out. The Sooners were down to the final out, something they have not experienced the entire season.

Patty Gasso called on pinch-hitter Kinzie Hansen, the team’s regular starting catcher who has been held out of action nursing an injury, to keep the Sooners’ hopes alive. Hansen came through with a single to right field. That was followed by a single to left by Mackenzie Donihoo, putting runners on first and second with two out.

That brough Tiare Jennings to the plate with the game and OU’s undefeated record on the line. The moment was not too big for the Sooner sophomore. With the count at 3-1, Jennings delivered with a dramatic three-run, walk-off home run to center field. Game, set, match…and the Sooners roll on.

North Texas transfer Hope Trautwein battled all day in the circle She allowed just one run and a single hit in seven full innings of work and fanned 13 Baylor hitters. Despite that brilliant performance, Oklahoma still found itself trailing in the contest heading into their final at bat.

Gasso has to be pleased to see how her team responded in the clutch. In the few times they’ve needed it this season the Sooners have come up big each time.

When Hansen stepped to the plate in the seventh inning with no one on base, two outs and down a run, the OU had only been able to get one hit to that point on Baylor pitcher Dariana Orme, who was putting on a show against the star-studded Sooner line-up. When the Sooners absolutely needed it, and had to have it, they manufactured three consecutive clutch hits to pick up the win.

The Sooners are now 29-0 on the season, riding a 31-game winning streak. Oklahoma’s longest win streak in history is 41, and 47 is the NCAA record. Can Oklahoma break the record Arizona has held since the mid 1990s?

Oklahoma will next be in action on Tuesday 6 pm CT at Marita Hynes Field against Wichita State.