Oklahoma softball: Sooners power, pitch their way to series sweep of Texas Tech


Tiare Jennings had a monster weekend at the plate and the Oklahoma softball team awarded head coach Patty Gasso with her 400th Big 12 victory as the Sooners steamrolled Texas Tech in a three-game series sweep.

Any concerns about the Sooners (27-1, 6-0) having to go on the road and face a hot Texas Tech team that had won 12 of its last 14 games coming into the series, including winning two of three at BYU the week before, were quelled in the series opener on Friday.

OU pounded out 12 hits in scoring 14 runs on Friday, and Kelly Maxwell shut down the Red Raiders' offense, allowing no runs and just two hits in a brilliant six-inning performance. The win was Maxwell's eighth of the season without a loss. The Oklahoma State transfer leads the Big 12 with 56 strikeouts.

Senior All-American Tiare Jennings provided all the offense the Sooners' needed in Friday's contest, going three-for-three at the plate with a pair of home runs and driving in six runs. The score was only 6-0 heading into the seventh inning, but Oklahoma scored eight more times in that inning to close out the game.

The Sooners' multi-run bombardment carried over into the middle game of the series on Saturday, scoring 12 times in the top of the first inning. Somewhat surprising with all the power bats in the Oklahoma starting lineup, only one of the eight Sooner hits in the opening frame left the yard, a three-run shot by freshman Kasidi Pickering. Pickering was one of three OU players who collected three RBI in the game. Freshman teammate Ella Parker and Jennings also drove in three runs.

Oklahoma scored three runs in the top of the fifth to complete the Sooner scoring and finish off a 15-2 run-rule victory. Texas Tech's two runs came on solo home runs in the first and fourth innings.

Sophomore southpaw Kiersten Deal (6-0) was the winning pitcher, going 3.1 innings, giving up both Red Raider runs on three hits with one strike out.

Sunday's series finale was more of the same as Oklahoma scored 11 runs on 12 hits, with six of the runs coming in the seventh inning to stretch what was a 5-1 advantage heading to the final frame into an 11-1 runaway.

OU veteran starter Nicole May turned in another stellar performance in the circle, going 6.0 innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out six to pick up her ninth win of the season. Graduate student Karlie Keeney closed out the game for the Sooners, striking out two of the three batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh.

Alyssa Brito slugged a pair of home runs, her eighth and ninth of the season and drove in three runs in Sunday's game. Jennings hit her third home run in the series, a three-run blast in the seventh inning. Jennings was six for 10 in the three games in Lubbock with four long balls and 10 runs batted in. If that doesn't earn her selection as Big 12 Player of the Week, I don't know what does.

The Sooners scored 40 runs in the series to just three for Texas Tech and outhit the Red Raiders 37 to 12.

Oklahoma has now won 97 of its last 99 games against Big 12 opponents, won 55 consecutive Big 12 series and recorded 47 series sweeps during that time.

OU will play a single game against UT Arlington on Wednesday evening at Loves Field before taking on Baylor next weekend in a three-game series. On Friday night, the two teams will play at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. On Saturday and Sunday the venue switches to Love's Field in Norman.