Top-ranked Oklahoma softball adds to new streak with Big 12 doubleheader sweep


No one, including Oklahoma softball head coach Patty Gasso, was absolutely sure how the Sooners would respond to the team's first loss after an NCAA record 71 consecutive wins.

The three-time defending national champions tuned up for their three-game weekend series with Iowa State with a 9-0 midweek win over Texas A&M Commerce.

Six days after suffering a surprising 7-5 setback to the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns, the Sooners were back on the diamond at all-new Love's Field hosting the Lady Cyclones of Iowa State in a doubleheader to open the Big 12 portion of the schedule. The two games on Saturday were scheduled due to a postponement because of inclement weather on Friday.

OU was slow getting started offensively, but Sooner starting pitcher Kelly Maxwell made the four runs they gave her stand up, pitching Oklahoma to a 4-0 shutout of Iowa State in Game 1 of Saturday's twin bill.

The Sooners scored once in the third and three times in the fourth, and Maxwell pitched a seven-inning complete game, allowing just four hits, striking out eight and walking three to win her sixth game without a loss. Seventy-five of her 126 total pitches were thrown for strikes.

Cydney Sanders blasted a three-run home run over the right-center field fence in the fourth to complete the Oklahoma scoring.

Game 2 on Saturday was a different story. Although Iowa State jumped out to a quick 2-0 advantage in the first inning off of OU starter Nicole May, it was short-lived as the Sooners responded with a five-spot in the bottom half of the inning, keyed by a two-run home-run blast off the bat of Jayda Colemen and a solo shot by Sanders, her second of the afternoon.

May settled down in the circle after a shaky opening frame. After yielding two hits in the first, she gave up just two more, going four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out three with a walk. Karlie Keeney worked the final inning in relief of May, who won her seventh game without a loss.

Oklahoma scored in every inning, following up the five-run first with single runs in the second and third and four more in the fourth on the way to an 11-2 run-rule victory to improve to 21-1 on the season. Seven of the Sooners' 10 hits were for extra bases. In addition to Coleman and Sanders, Rylie Boone also hit one out of the park for OU, a solo round-tripper in the second.

The two teams will wind up the series with a single game on Sunday.