Winners of eight straight, No. 11/9 Oklahoma (31-7, 3-0 Big 12) steps out of conference play to host No. 25/RV Arkansas (22-12, 2-10 SEC) Wednesday night.
Bark in the Park Night
Wednesday is the third annual Bark in the Park night. The first 50 dogs will receive a dog bandana and reflective dog tag. Full details can be found on the Sooner website.
Hot dogs are also just $1 Wednesday, while supplies last.
Meeting for the fifth straight season, Oklahoma holds a 21-2 all-time record over Arkansas, including an 11-1 edge in Norman. The Sooners haven’t lost to the Razorbacks since an 11-9 setback on April 8, 2009, in Norman.
The Sooners have won seven straight against the Razorbacks, including run-rule wins in three of the last four meetings. During the current win streak, OU has outscored UA 74-13 for an average score of 10.6-1.9.
Among teams its faced at least 20 times, OU’s .913 win percentage over Arkansas ranks second-best in school annals.
Second-year Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The Sooners were a combined 102-22 (.823) during that time and reached the Super Regionals each year.
The Sooners and Razorbacks have three common opponents so far in Loyola Marymount, Nebraska and Tulsa. Oklahoma defeated all those teams by a combined score of 13-4, while Arkansas went 2-1 with a run-rule loss to Tulsa.
Last Time They Met
The teams last met a year ago on April 20 in Fayetteville with the Sooners winning 3-1, the closest meeting between the two teams since Arkansas’ 11-9 win in 2009.
Paige Parker struck out eight and walked none while giving up one unearned run on four hits. At the plate, Caleigh Clifton hit an RBI single in the third, while Fale Aviu, who was 2-4, dropped a two-run homer to right in the fifth.
The teams last met in Norman on April 8, 2015, as OU posted a 10-1, five-inning victory. Georgia Casey and Shelby Pendley each homered twice in the contest. Pendley hit a pair of solo home runs, while Casey had a grand slam and two-run blast. Pendley also got the win in the circle with three strikeouts and one unearned run yielded in 4.0 innings.
Home Sweet Home
Since April 3 of last season, the Sooners have won 30 straight home games, including all 15 this year. That’s tied for the second longest home win streak in program history.
During the streak, Oklahoma has two top-25 wins, 11 shutouts and 13 run-rule wins. Eleven victories have been against Big 12 teams, while 19 have been non-conference matchups, including five in the postseason.
Mendes on a Tear Since Becoming a Starter
Freshman Nicole Mendes entered the starting lineup for the Sooners on March 10 in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Omaha and hasn’t left since. Over the last 17 games, in which she has started in RF (10), DP (7), LF (1) and P (1), she leads the team in average (.483), hits (29), triples (3) and stolen bases (10) and is second in slugging (.750), OBP (.523) and runs scored (21).
Mendes has hit safely in 15 of the 17 games, including four games with three hits and a four-hit game at Loyola Marymount where she had two doubles and a triple.
OU Stealing at Highest Rate in Last 10 Years
Through 38 games, Oklahoma is 64-80 on stolen base attempts. With 1.68 steals per game entering the week, OU ranked XXth in the country, but by their own standards, the Sooners are stealing at their highest rate in the past 10 years.
The 64 steals and 80 steal attempts are the most for OU at this point in the season since 2008.
After stealing 14 bases all of last year, Caleigh Clifton already has 13 this year to lead the time, while Sydney Romero, who had six a year ago, is second with 12 and Nicole Mendes has 10 to rank third on the team. Eleven different players have at least one stolen base this year.
As a team, OU has 12 games this year with at least three stolen bases and seven games with at least four and a season-high five came against Iowa State (3/31).
Through 4/2, Paige Parker is 8th among active pitchers in career shutouts (25), 8th in wins (78), 10th in ERA (1.66), 16th in complete games (64) and total strikeouts (626), 17th in strikeouts/7 IP (7.63), 28th in innings (574.0), 37th in starts (82) and 46th in appearances (112) ... Paige Lowary is 21st among active pitchers in saves (8), 34th in wins (50) and 32nd in strikeouts/7IP (6.17).
Mariah Lopez has given up one earned run in 27.2 innings at home this year (0.25 ERA) ... she has also not yet given up an earned run in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd innings (33.0 IP total; 36 K’s, 1 BB) ... Nicole Mendes leads the team with a .439 average in non-conference games this year, while Macey Hatfield is hitting a team-best .478 (11-23) in home games this season ... Sydney Romero is hitting .473 (26-55) with runners in scoring position this year ... every pitcher on the OU staff has an ERA of 1.95 or better ... as a team, OU is 82-141 (.582) with a runner on third and less than 2 out ... After hitting 15 home runs in their first 32 games (0.47/game), the Sooners have hit 11 in their last six contests (1.8/game).