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Oklahoma finishes strong in doubleheader sweep at Baylor

Patient Sooners get small-ball production up and down the lineup and more strong pitching from Shannon Saile

Oklahoma’s softball machine keeps rolling.

The Sooners swept a Big 12 Conference doubleheader at Baylor on Tuesday, closing out the Bears with an 11-0 victory in the nightcap following a 7-1 win in the opener at Getterman Stadium in Waco.

The usual three-game series at Baylor two weeks ago was postponed by COVID-19 concerns on the BU campus and rescheduled to a mid-week doubleheader.

OU improved to 39-1 overall and 14-0 in Big 12 play, while Baylor fell to 24-15 and 5-6.

Following a strong performance in the circle by Giselle Juarez in the opener, Shannon Saile was equally dominant in the nightcap.

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Jocelyn Alo had three hits and Lynnsie Elam and Jana Johns each had two RBIs. Eight of the Sooners’ nine starters had at least one RBI, an effective byproduct of a patient, small-ball mentality throughout the lineup.

In the first inning, Elam’s infield single scored Tiare Jennings from third base, and Kinzie Hansen’s sacrifice fly to center field brought home Alo for a 2-0 lead.

The Sooners plated three runs in the second. Jennings singled home Mackenzie Donihoo, Alo’s single scored Taylon Snow from third, and Grace Lyons’ groundout scored Jayda Coleman for a 5-0 lead.

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The station-to-station parade continued in the third inning when Coleman’s groundout pushed Rylie Boone home from third to make it 6-0, and Donihoo’s groundout brought home Johns to make it 7-0.

In the sixth, after Alo’s one-out single, Lyons hit a double off the wall in right field. Elam then reached on a fielder’s choice up the middle that scored pinch-runner Kinsey Koeltzow for an 8-0 Sooner lead.

Lyons then scored on Boone’s fielder’s choice — avoiding what looked like an easy rundown between third and home and somehow juking to avoid the tag of pitcher Ayliah Binford before sliding home to put her team up 9-0.

Johns finished the onslaught when she smacked a hard single into right field to score Boone and Elam for an 11-0 lead.

Saile was in complete control until she ran into trouble in the fourth — and then got out of that trouble all by herself.

The Bears loaded the bases in the fourth, but Saile quelled the rally. Saile struck out Goose McLaun for the first out with runners on first and second, and after a single by Taylor Ellis loaded the bases, Saile struck out Binford, then ran down an infield popup by Zadie LaValley to end the threat.

Saile (12-0) struck out at least one Baylor hitter in each of the first four innings, including two swinging K’s in the third and one swinging and one looking in the fourth. Saile finished four innings, gave up just two hits, walked only one and struck out six.

Sophomore Olivia Rains pitched a scoreless fifth inning and Nicole May pitched a scoreless sixth.

Oklahoma is now off until next Tuesday when the Sooners travel to Wichita State to make up a game rained out two weeks ago. OU then visits OSU the following weekend in Stillwater to close out the regular season.