Oklahoma eliminates Arkansas with blowout win

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018
Courtney Deifel looks into the outfield during the Razorbacks' game against Wichita State on Sunday, May 20, 2018 during the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament at Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Arkansas won 6-4 and advanced to the Norman (Okla.) Super Regional.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Courtney Deifel looks into the outfield during the Razorbacks' game against Wichita State on Sunday, May 20, 2018 during the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament at Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Arkansas won 6-4 and advanced to the Norman (Okla.) Super Regional.

Oklahoma 9, Arkansas 0 - Final

Tori Cooper reached on a leadoff single in the seventh, but Paige Parker worked around the trouble again to retire the next three batters and eliminate the Razorbacks.

Parker, who is one of the most decorated pitchers in college softball history, threw a seven-inning shutout in the NCAA postseason for the fifth time in her career. She finished with six hits allowed, nine strikeouts and one walk.

Oklahoma (55-3) finished the year undefeated at home and is going to the Women's College World Series for the 12th time in program history, and for the seventh time since 2011. The Sooners have won consecutive national championships and three since 2013.

For Arkansas, another season comes to an end in Norman. Seven of the Razorbacks' eight NCAA postseasons have ended there - six in the regionals and now this year in the program's first super regional. The Sooners improved to 25-2 all-time against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas finished the year 42-17 overall and with a lot of momentum going into Courtney Deifel's fourth season in 2019. Several of the Razorbacks' top players this year were freshmen or sophomores.

We'll have more from Norman later today.

Oklahoma 9, Arkansas 0 - Middle 7th Inning

Arkansas pitcher Mary Haff and Oklahoma hitter Jocelyn Alo are both finalists for the National Freshman of the Year award. Alo just got the better of Haff with a two-run home run to center field - her NCAA-leading 28th home run of the season.

Oklahoma has hit four home runs in this series.

Barring a remarkable comeback, Arkansas is up to bat for the final time this season.

Oklahoma 7, Arkansas 0 - End 6th Inning

Ashley Diaz extended her hit streak to eight games with a one-out single, but Arkansas stranded its sixth base runner against Paige Parker. No team has scored more than six runs on Oklahoma all season, but Arkansas must do it in the seventh to keep the season alive.

Oklahoma 7, Arkansas 0 - Middle 6th Inning

Oklahoma appears to be putting Arkansas away with two more runs in the sixth. Arkansas is going back to Mary Haff on the mound.

The Sooners scored their sixth run when Arkansas second baseman Haydi Bugarin couldn't field a two-out ground ball cleanly and Nicole Pendley scored from third base. Nicole Mendes, who reached on the error, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Falepolima Aviu, who has 4 RBI.

Oklahoma 5, Arkansas 0 - End 5th Inning

Hannah McEwen singled with two outs, but Arkansas continues to struggle against Oklahoma's great left-hander Paige Parker, who had two strikeouts in the inning and worked around the runner with a foul out.

Arkansas has only four hits against Parker, who has six strikeouts. Her pitch count is 82.

Oklahoma 5, Arkansas 0 - Middle 5th Inning

Arkansas is going to the bullpen after Falepolima Aviu hit a three-run, opposite-field home run off Autumn Storms to put the Sooners ahead 5-0 in the fifth. Caroline Hedgecock, a left-hander, is the new Arkansas pitcher.

Storms got a lineout to begin the inning, then let the next three Sooners reach on a walk, a single and the homer that went just above Tori Cooper's glove in left field.

The Sooners put two more on against Hedgecock because of an error and a single, but those runners were stranded on the corners when freshman Jocelyn Alo flied out to right field.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - End 4th Inning

Ashley Diaz gave a Parker pitch a ride to the warning track to open the inning. A.J. Belans then singled to left for Arkansas' second hit of the day. Krzysko struck out on a filthy off-speed pitch.

Tori Cooper hit an infield single toward the right side, advancing Belans to second, except Belans took off for third and was thrown out to end the inning.

Arkansas has to continue being aggressive, but maybe not to that extent. It's the kind of mistake you just can't make against Oklahoma when you know runs will be at a premium.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - Middle 4th Inning

Haff allowed a one-out double to the gap in left-center to Lea Wodach. She then got Romero to fly out to essentially the same spot. She's 0-for-6 this weekend.

After Romero flew out, Autumn Storms re-entered the game to face Jocelyn Alo, who's 2-for-2 today. Storms then intentionally walked Alo to put two on with two away before getting Knighten to ground out to short to end the threat.

Diaz, Belans and Krzysko are due up for Arkansas in the home fourth.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - End 3rd Inning

Arkansas put a pair in scoring position against Parker and recorded its first hit on a Buczek infield single, but with two outs, Mary Haff's spot in the order came up. Haff struck out looking in just her second plate appearance of the season, stranding two.

She returns to the circle for the Razorbacks to face 8-9-1 in the OU order.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - Middle 3rd Inning

Mary Haff came back in the third with a quick inning, retiring Oklahoma in order. That was much needed.

Kayla Green, Haydi Bugarin and Hannah McEwen are due up for Arkansas in the home third.

Hjalte Froholdt is in attendance among the Arkansas fans.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - End 2nd Inning

A.J. Belans and Loren Krzysko were retired for the first two outs of the home second. Krzysko made solid contact, but Alo made a nice running catch in left, and Tori Cooper then struck out to end the inning.

Arkansas has not yet scratched a hit against Parker.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - Middle 2nd Inning

Autumn Storms issued a one-out walk in the second, and Courtney Deifel turned to Mary Haff. Haff came in and retired Romero for the second out of the inning. Alo then singled to center for the second time in as many at-bats today, putting two on with two away.

Haff then walked Knighten to load the bases for Pendley, who grounded out to second on a nice backhand play by Haydi Bugarin.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - End 1st Inning

Hannah McEwen reached first base on a hit by pitch to get things started, but Paige Parker got out of the early trouble to preserve her early lead. Ashley Diaz gave a ball a ride to right-center but it was tracked down by Nicole Pendley to end the inning.

Oklahoma 2, Arkansas 0 - Middle 1st Inning

Autumn Storms came back from 3-0 down to get Sydney Romero to ground out to third. Romero is now 0-for-5 in super regional play after entering hitting .430. Jocelyn Alo reached on a hard hit single up the middle. Shay Knighten followed with a single to left.

Nicole Pendley flew out to right for the second out. Hannah McEwen came up throwing and kept Alo from advancing to third. Storms then issued a two-out walk to load the bases for Nicole Mendes, who went 3-for-3 on Friday.

Mendes again delivered with a two-run single to left. She's been a thorn in the side of Arkansas' staff this weekend.

Pregame

Again, it's hot in Norman. Another nice crowd is on hand. I wouldn't be surprised to see yesterday's crowd of 1,900+ go down this afternoon.

Autumn Storms is going to start in the circle for Arkansas today. She is 12-9 this season and pitched pretty well yesterday after Mary Haff got tagged for four runs in the first three innings. Wichita State coach Kristi Bredbenner said last week OU historically has more difficulty hitting pitchers with a drop ball than those with rise balls. This looks like a play toward that idea by Courtney Deifel.

Oklahoma is starting Paige Parker, a left-hander that is up for National Player of the Year. She is 28-2 this season and holds a minuscule .89 ERA.

Arkansas is the designated home team today and is wearing all white. OU is in black.

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