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Sooners Start Conference Play With Sweep of Cyclones

The Sooners opened up conference play this weekend in Ames, Iowa against the Cyclones of Iowa State. The Cyclones come into the weekend at 11-14 on the season. There is traditionally success against ISU as the Sooners have won 44 in a row dating back to 2006 for the last time the Sooners lost to them. 

Game 1: 3-0 (W)

The lineup has changed once again as the red hot Alyssa Brito moved into the cleanup spot. Sophia Nugent getting the start in right field is in the 5 hole, and Cydney Sanders who has felt unbelievably close to breaking out of her slump hitting 9th and playing first base. Alex Storako got the nod in the circle for the Sooners. She is fiery in the circle and one can imagine that Gasso went with Storako to start the weekend with some intensity. Last weekend the Sooners came out flat until she inserted Storako and breathed life into her teammates. 

A very rare 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first for the Sooners. Similar result for the Cyclones in the bottom of the first but that isn’t rare from Sooner pitching. As she has done from nearly every other spot in the lineup Brito with another hit for the Sooners first of the day. After a diving stop but unable to get up in time to get Lee for an infield single put two on and one out. This sparked a pitching change and started a trend that would continue all weekend. A double by Hansen greeted the new pitcher Ralston scored Brito. The only way to describe what happened next is a very odd play, a ground ball by Boone put Lee in a rundown. She made it all the way back to 3rd base but Hansen was also there. The catcher tagged Hansen but Lee thought she was the one out so she jogged back to the dugout, before getting there the Sooner dugout told her to touch the plate. She did so but the Cyclones challenged something, we could not get clarity on what exactly they challenged but Lee was ruled safe at home. The entire exchange took a while but in the end the Sooners ended the inning with 2 runs across. 

After several innings of threats but no runs, the Sooners loaded the bases with 2 outs in the 6th. Jayda Coleman worked a full count walk to force in Hodge and the Sooners first run since the 2nd inning. Retiring the last 16 batters she faced, Storako threw a one hit shutout and gave the Sooners the win in the conference opener. 

Game 2: 13-3 (W)

It was May Day in game two of the series for the Sooners. She comes in 8-0 on the season with the Sooners looking to clinch the series win. Alynah Torres got the start in right field as that position continues to be a rotating door of players. 

The Sooners kind of came out flat again which was surprising given their performance the day before and their propensity to bounce back. Unable to take advantage of an error and hitting into a double play the Sooners went in order in the first. In the bottom half a long at bat lead to a leadoff walk. Stealing 2nd base but the runner in scoring position. She scored on the double that was inches from clearing the center field wall and gave the Cyclones their first lead of the series. Scoring their second run on an error by Sanders on a sharply hit ground ball that leaked into right field. Alyssa Brito is hitting herself into the player of the year conversation. She smoked a 3-0 pitch over the left center wall after a walk to Lyons and Torres reached on an error. The energy of the game completely changed for the Sooners after the blast.

The exact thing you want to see from your pitcher after scoring runs is throwing strikes and a quick inning. That’s exactly what Nicole May is known for and did in the bottom of the 2nd. Absolute laser hit by Haley Lee cleared the wall for her 6th home run of the season. Followed by a single from Hansen and a monster blast by Grace Lyons for her 3rd HR of the season and a 6-2 lead. The Sooners continued the trend of doing damage with 2 outs as they loaded the bases and Tiare Jennings promptly cleared them after a pitching change. The lead became 10-2 in the 4th. The third run of the day for the Cyclones came from Leah Nelson for her first collegiate home run with 2 outs in the 4th. If there was one thing we hadn’t seen Jocelyn Erickson do much of was pull the ball with power. She smashed a 2 run home run to right center that was absolutely a no doubter. Immediately following that Nugent pinch hit and hit one over the scoreboard in left for a 10 run lead. Alex Storako came in the 5th to finish off the game. The final line for May was 4 innings, 3 runs (2 earned) 2 hits, 4 BB, and 4 K. Easily her worst performance of the season but that speaks to the type of season she is putting together. The Sooners blasted 6 HR by 6 different players in the game. Was a refreshing change after Friday’s struggles at the plate.

Game 3: 10-0 (W)

After 2 of the first 3 batters reached ISU changed pitchers once again. With a wild pitch allowing them to advance to 2nd and third for Hansen who singled through the left side and bringing home the first run of the game. A squeeze from Brito that scored another but was so well placed it became a single as well. The Sooners bats continued to stay hot as Lyons dropped in an RBI single to center. A smash off the glove of the 2nd baseman that glanced to the wall from Erickson scored 2 more and triggered another pitching change. An error by the 2nd baseman allowed Torres to reach and put runners on the corners and batting around in the first. RBI groundout for Bahl made the score 6-0. Smashing her 8th home run of the season and bringing it to run rule territory in the first inning Jayda Coleman sent a ball over the center field wall. For the first time this weekend we saw Jordy Bahl in the circle and she looked sharp early. 

The scoring continued in the 2nd for the Sooners but only a solo home run off the bat of Lyons. She has started to make really solid contact once again and looks like her old self at the plate. If she is hitting opposite field no doubters, look out. The scoring slowed down for the Sooners as they failed to put any across in consecutive innings. That changed in the 5th when Lilio had an RBI grounder but she reached on the error bringing the score to 10-0. The Sooners wrapped up the second run rule of the day. Jordy Bahl was dominant but wasn’t flashy with a ton of strikeouts. She only allowed one hit and had no walks with 5 K’s. The Sooners leave Ames with the sweep and continue the win streak against the Cyclones. 

The Sooners return to Big 12 action next Friday with a series against the Longhorns in Norman/OKC.

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