Oklahoma attacked Morgan State pitchers early and remained relentless against the ladies in the circle through the first three innings on Friday night. The Sooners blasted four home runs and pushed 19 runs across the plate on an 18-hit night that saw senior Nicole Mendes go deep twice, including a Grand Slam.
Mendes ended the night going 2-of-3 from the plate and was responsible for 7 runs batted in. She followed her second inning grand slam with a 2-run shot to left field in the third inning. Jayda Coleman and Jocelyn Alo joined Mendes in leaving the park against a battery of Morgan State hurlers that saw a total of four pitchers take the circle. Coleman went yard in the first inning and Alo crushed a ball in the third inning that sailed over the left field stands.
Eleven different Oklahoma batters recorded at least one hit on the night with freshman Tiare Jennings leading the way on a 4-for-4 night that saw her cross home plate three times and also knock in a run. The 4th-seeded Bears never had a chance against a Sooner lineup that sent a total of 13 batters to the plate in the first inning that recorded seven runs scored off six hits.
Oklahoma’s lineup produced 8 doubles in the game which is both a school and NCAA Tournament record. The Sooners didn’t have a scoreless inning until the fourth but by that time had built an insurmountable 19-0 lead.
From the pitcher’s circle Giselle Juarez picked up the win after going 3.1 innings in which she allowed no runs, gave up just one hit and struck out six Morgan State batters. Olivia Rains and Nicole May closed out the game for the Sooners, striking out four and allowing no hits in the five inning run-rule shortened game.
Oklahoma will now face Wichita State at 3:00 on Saturday with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship round. The winner between the Sooners and Shockers will have to lose twice on Sunday in order to not advance to a super regional next weekend.
Morgan State faces Texas A&M on Saturday evening in the first elimination game of the regional. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the tournament and the winner will face the loser of Oklahoma and Wichita State in Saturday’s night cap.
Follow us on Twitter: @SportsHeartland