NORMAN- Last night, Patty Gasso was not pleased with how her Sooners performed.
Today in their final game of the series against the Kansas Jayhawks, Oklahoma responded.
Behind four-run third and fourth innings, OU remained unbeaten on the year, sweeping Kansas 10-1 at Marita Hynes Field.
“I liked that we got into the classroom,” Gasso said in a Zoom press conference after the game. “We looked at some video and we made some adjustments with our placement in the box. That seemed to help quite a bit.”
While the team played well, one Sooners’ chase for history came to an end.
Senior Jocelyn Alo, riding a 40-game hitting streak, finished hitting 0-for-1 with two walks. Her streak ends three games short of the NCAA record.
After the game Gasso said she honestly wouldn’t have even known about the streak if people didn’t inform her because the team focus is on group accomplishments and winning as a team.
“I just want her to feel good and swing well. She’s gonna continue to see walks, I’m surprised that it actually lasted this long especially with the streak she was on,” Gasso said. “But she’s not boo-hooing.
“Nobody even knows unless they read about it, nobody’s even gonna know and that’s exactly how I want it because we are so much a team style that there’s not just one person or player that gets al the praise. They have to do this together.”
Despite the hit streak coming to a close, every single at bat was productive for Alo. In the first inning, she grounded out to the shortstop, but was able to advance freshman Tiare Jennings to third base. Jennings would then open the scoring for Oklahoma during the next at bat, as a wild pitch allowed her to steal home.
After walking during her final two chances at the dish, Alo’s speed on the base paths allowed her to come all the way home, scoring twice more for OU.
“I don't think that (Alo) thinks a lot about that. And that's what makes her such a great hitter, is that she's not a selfish hitter, she is willing to do anything for the team," Grace Lyons said after the game. "Coach (J.T. Gasso) talked about before the game, let's celebrate all the little things, getting on base, moving on a ball in the dirt. And she did two of those things today.
“It’s awesome to watch how selfless of a player she is. Because she knows that people behind her have her back. And just if some people are having a day, we know that the other ones are gonna pick each other up. So this team's super well rounded and just having that makes us super successful.”
The rest of the lineup saw the ball really well for the Sooners.
Finishing 2-for-2 on the day, no ball was hit harder than Lyons’ no-doubt two-run homer to dead center field in the third inning. Lyons brought home another pair of runners in the fourth inning to complete her four RBI day.
"It was kind of weird because like, the girl was throwing me all out all weekend I was getting all out and then, all of a sudden, I get on the plate and I have a feeling that they're gonna come in. So just expecting it,” Lyons said. “I got the pitch that I wanted and off the bat, it felt really good. So finally, got a good piece of the ball this weekend at a good time. So yep, super happy about that."
OU logged no extra-base hits in Friday’s matchup, but Jennings had a pair of doubles herself on Saturday, tacking on another walk to complete a big day at the plate for the freshman.
Mackenzie Donihoo also came up big for OU, hitting a home run and a single to cap off her 2-of-3 hitting day.
In the circle, Giselle Juarez picked up where she left off yesterday, dominating the Jayhawk lineup. Retiring all nine batters she faced in order, the redshirt senior struck out one batter and issued no walks.
“I think people might be surprised that we started Giselle but there was a reason behind that,” Gasso said. “That is that we’ve just got to get her to the place where she’s feeling, like on a scale from one to ten she’s living in the eights and the nines and we’re not quite there yet, but it’s still good enough to win a lot of games. So we wanted to see if she would bow up and answer the call and she did.”
Juarez got some help from her defense, as center fielder Nicole Mendes robbed Macy Omli’s home run, reaching over the centerfield fence to record the out.
“It's exciting every single time. I mean, she goes over the fence, we don't know if she has it, and then she brings the ball back and everyone goes crazy,” Lyons said. “This game is a game of momentum and those kind of plays happen in practice. Hanson was joking with me about Hanson hits home runs and Mendy robs them in practice. So it's not new, and it's just our athleticism in the outfield in the infield. It's crazy.”
Kansas shortstop Sydnee Ramsey broke up OU’s perfect game bid with a line-drive home run shot over the left field fence, recording the only Jayhawk run of the afternoon.
After allowing the run, freshman pitcher Nicole May settled in. She finished with five strikeouts in two innings of work, allowing four hits.
“I thought Nicole May did a nice job. This is a freshman that is trying to learn her way,” Gasso said. “Isn’t getting maybe as much innings as she would like, but we’re really needing her. I think she got really hot towards the end of the game.”
Oklahoma takes a brief reprieve from conference play when they take a mid-week trip to play the Wichita State Shockers on April 7 at 6 p.m.