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Oklahoma smashes Texas Tech behind an 18-run fourth inning

Texas Tech held tough early, but a 18-run fourth inning busted the game open for the OU win

NORMAN — The Texas Tech Red Raiders hung tough with the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners early on Sunday, but a massive fourth inning pushed the Sooners to a 20-0 run-rule, sweeping the weekend series at Marita Hynes Field.

Oklahoma's first two batters set the tone in the first inning. 

Freshman Tiare Jennings’ leadoff walk made way for a Jocelyn Alo two-run blast to put OU ahead just seven pitches into the game.

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One inning later, Oklahoma looked to be threatening again as they loaded up the bases with two outs for Alo’s second plate appearance.

The Sooner slugger got her bat on a hard-hit ball toward Red Raider shortstop Riley Love, who was able to flip the ball to third before Nicole Mendes arrived at the bag, bailing Texas Tech out of trouble.

Texas Tech pitcher Missy Zoch was able to keep OU off the board again in the third inning, causing Patty Gasso to challenge her lineup.

"They got called out because they were kind of underachieving," she said after the game. 

In response, Oklahoma battered the Red Raiders for 18 runs in the following inning.

Though due to her frustrations, Gasso said she wasn't able to initially focus on the record number of runs her lineup was putting on the board. 

"I wasn’t paying attention because I was just not happy with what was going on up to that point," Gasso said.  

Jana Johns and Mendes set the table for Alo to drive in her third runner of the day, bringing Johns home with a one-out double.

Jocelyn Alo

Four of Jocelyn Alo's six RBI's came in OU's massive fourth inning

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Two batters later, Kinzie Hansen brought Mendes home with a single to shallow left field, extending the OU lead to four.

Back-to-back two-RBI singles by Jayda Coleman and Taylon Snow busted the game wide open, extending the Oklahoma lead to eight and ending any doubt about Sunday’s result.

Johns put the exclamation point on the win with a three-run shot that cleared the outfield fence behind the spectators at Marita Hynes Field, contributing to a 18-run fourth inning.

The 18 runs was a program record for a single inning, and is tied for the second most runs in an inning in NCAA history. 

As the OU lineup continues to rewrite what feels like the entire NCAA record book, Mendes said the maturity in their approach to at the plate is how the Sooners continue to feast on opposing pitchers. 

"This lineup I would say feels experienced," she said. "This lineup feels confident and this lineup communicates really really well. Not just what we’re seeing, but what we’re feeling.

"Whenever you have a lineup like that, it’s so easy to transfer on that confidence."

Nicole Mendes Senior Day

Giselle Juarez pitched another gem in the circle for the Sooners. In four innings of action, Juarez allowed just a pair of hits. The senior struck out five batters and issued no walks, only allowing a single free base when she hit a Red Raider to start the second inning. 

The Oklahoma pitching staff shut out Texas Tech for the entire weekend, something Gasso said pitching coach Jen Rocha challenged them to do ahead of the series.

"It’s almost unheard of for a coach to go in and challenge a staff and say ‘over the course of three games I don’t not want you to give up a run'," Gasso said. "But it was interesting to see how they would respond and they became a little team out there and decided they were going to do it.

"They’re starting to groove here. They’re starting to gain a lot of momentum."

Alo finished the day hitting 4-for-5 with six RBI's. Johns hit 2-for-3 with three RBI's and a walk, and Mendes was a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk and a pair of RBI's. 

Patty Gasso’s Sooners now hit the road for a mid-week double header on Tuesday against the Baylor Bears. First pitch for the first game in Waco, TX, is scheduled for 4 p.m.