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Sooners Blank Red Raiders and Sweep Series

On this Easter weekend the Sooners hosted the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. Games from Thursday to Saturday this week due to the Easter holiday. Tech is coming off getting a series win against Iowa State. The Red Raiders can absolutely hit the ball but that will be tested against the Sooners pitching staff. Conversely they struggle in the circle so the Sooners expected to have a big weekend at the plate.

Game 1: 3-0 (W)

The Sooners sent Alex Storako to the circle sporting an 11-0 record. The Super Senior has been fantastic in the circle all season. Looking to start off another conference series strong the Sooners looked to Storako to get them fired up early. The bottom of the first is when we saw the scoring get started with rocket of a home run off the bat of Haley Lee. Normally a strikeout pitcher Storako was efficient early and only had 1 strikeout through 3 innings. Texas Tech applied a strategy we have seen several times this season, a new pitcher every inning. This mixes the looks and doesn’t allow the Sooners to make adjustments on any one pitcher and get dialed. Finally getting a runner in scoring position the Sooners scored two off the double from Alyssa Brito for a 3-0 lead. Finishing off the shutout Alex Storako threw a complete game only allowing 3 hits and 1 walk. The Sooners only managed 3 runs off 3 hits, the strategy of a new pitcher every inning somewhat worked but will be interesting to see how the rest of the series goes. Postgame Coach Gasso in her opening statement: “Defense securing the game along with pitching, if you have 2 of the 3 phases of the game working you have a great chance to win.” “That’s why I keep recruiting shortstops.”- Gasso on Avery Hodge’s diving catch in right field. 

Game 2: 6-0 (W)

In game 2 the Sooners started Jordy Bahl in the circle and the hurler was also batting 8th in the lineup. Avery Hodge was rewarded for her stellar defense yesterday with the start in right field. With solid defense and some clutch hitting as of late Cydney Sanders at first base. The first inning has been occasionally challenging for Bahl. She allowed a hit right back up the middle to the leadoff and walked the second batter. A line drive at Sanders turned into a double play with her quick tag. Jordy responded with catching the next batter looking to end the inning. Leading off the game in style Jayda Coleman smashed a pitch over the left field wall for an early 1-0 lead. Slightly different strategy for Tech as their starting pitcher went 2 innings instead of the one like Thursday. A walk to Boone set up Coleman with a runner on, words cannot describe how hard she hit that ball. It was by far the furthest ball I’ve ever seen hit to right field. The Player of the Year front runner hit her second of the day and her 11th of the season. The Sooners loaded the bases with no one out for Hansen who smacked a single and scored two. Stolen base of second by Hansen freed up Brito to steal home and score the Sooners 6th run of the game. 

Grace Lyons did Grace Lyons things at shortstop and Jordy recorded a couple of strikeouts in the 4th. Some defensive changes for the Sooners in the top of the 5th, Sophia Nugent behind the plate, Jocelyn Erickson to first base, and Quincee Lilio in Left. The Sooners bats have been just off since the 5 run third inning. Finishing off the 6th with a flourish and her 11th strikeout of the game Jordy kept the scoreboard clean. Too many pop ups ensure we played the full 7 innings. After striking out her 12th hitter of the game that was the end of the night for Bahl as Deal was brought in to finish it off. The crowd made Bahl give a curtain call after her dominant performance. The Freshman has flashed but has had few clean innings, she allowed two soft contact singles but ended with a caught looking strikeout. The Sooners win the series and look to sweep on Saturday. 

Game 3: 7-0 (W)

Looking for the sweep the Sooners had Nicole May in the circle. May had a 10-0 record and  0.47 ERA. Lineup changes again as Alynah Torres was in right and notably Grace Lyons was bumped down to 8th in the  order. May had it working early allowing one hit but getting a lot of swing and misses. The Sooners got on the board in the bottom of the first with a 2 run home run to right field. The Sooners flashed their elite defense with a runner on first and a hit to the wall in right center. Jayda got it in very quickly and the runner rounded third a little too aggressively, Grace threw behind her and Brito threw her out at the plate. Another pair was scored for OU from the 2 run HR from Grace Lyons. The right fielder nearly made the play as it went off her glove but it was as she hit the wall and was reaching over it. Tech changed pitchers as soon as they got through the lineup one time. Haley Lee is thoroughly enjoying her Senior tour. It is her Senior weekend as the Sooners traditionally give Seniors their own homestand instead of just the traditional last game. She smoked a ball into the batters eye in straightaway center for her 2nd of the game. The Sooners added another in the 3rd with 2 outs Riley Boone hit an RBI single but that would be all the Sooners would get. Nicole May still in command only had one hard hit ball in the 4th but it would have been a home run but a spectacular grab bringing it back by Riley Boone.

Infield single for Jennings and one through the 5-6 hole for Brito set up the Sooners with one out with runners at 2nd and third with Brito taking 2nd on the throw in. Sophia Nugent hit a single to left bringing home Jennings, Brito was thrown out but the play was challenged by Gasso for interference and was upheld. Another single from Torres, then Erickson was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Lilio. She smoked a ball but right at the 2nd baseman for the third out. Getting stronger the more the games goes May collected her 6th and 7th strikeouts of the day in the 5th. After collecting her 8th K of the day May was relieved and greeted with a standing ovation. Freshman Kiersten Deal was brought in, Gasso commented Friday night it was important to get Deal some more work. Getting in and out of a jam Deal looked much better after a visit from Coach Gasso. The Sooners threatened but were unable to plate the last run needed for the run rule. The Sooners brought in Alex Storako to wrap up the 7th. She did just that in short order. The Sooners swept the series and have yet to give up a run to Texas Tech since 2019. The Win was their 28th consecutive. 

The Sooners travel to Baton Rouge this weekend and take on the (at the time of this writing) 11th ranked Tigers of LSU on Tuesday in a nationally televised game on ESPN2. Patty made comments on Saturday saying she was hoping for a hostile environment. Having to battle the crowd as well as the opponent builds character and that is a challenge the Sooners do not often get to face.

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