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'If I'm another team, I'm looking to find a way to beat the Sooners': OU defeats Texas Tech in unique pitching battle

Haley Lee

Redshirt senior utility Haley Lee during the game against Texas on April 2.

No. 1 Oklahoma (34-1, 7-0 Big 12) defeated Texas Tech (28-13, 2-5) 3-0 during the first of a three-game series on Thursday in Norman.

Fifth-year senior Alex Storako (12-0) pitched all seven innings and allowed no runs on three hits with four strikeouts.

Defensively, freshman left fielder Avery Hodge made a diving catch in the fifth inning that prevented an extra-base hit. Senior shortstop Grace Lyons helped Storako’s scoreless outing by snagging a ground ball with her backhand in the sixth inning to keep a runner on second base from advancing.

“I thought (our) defense was kind of securing the game along with pitching,” coach Patty Gasso said. “And a lot of times if you have two of the three parts of your game working well you're going to find ways to win, and that's really the story tonight.”

Hodge typically plays middle infield but shifted to right field in place of freshman Jocelyn Erickson, a move Gasso is familiar with making. 

“To put her out in right field — I mean she's a shortstop (or) middle infielder — but that's why I keep recruiting shortstops,” Gasso said. “…I know they can easily move well and they have good arms … (She’s) really stepping out and making big time plays with her speed (and) she's got a good arm as well. She's really embraced it and understands that it's a way she can get into the game.”

Senior Haley Lee put the Sooners on the board in the first inning with a solo home run, her ninth of the season and third in the past four games. 

Texas Tech deployed six pitchers throughout the game, sending a new arm to the mound at the start of each inning. The Red Raiders strategy appeared to work, as OU was held to a season-low three hits.

“It's good for us,” Gasso said. “I mean, if I’m another team, I'm looking to find a way to beat the Sooners. … I'm going to try whatever I can try.”

Lee’s homer stood as the lone OU hit until junior infielder Alyssa Brito plated two runners with an RBI-double in the fourth inning. Brito entered the contest with just one hit in her last 12 at-bats. The Sooners’ first two hitters, juniors Jayda Coleman and Tiare Jennings, each finished hitless for the first time since OU’s 8-0 defeat of Texas A&M on Feb. 24. 

OU will face Texas Tech in the second game of the series at 6 p.m. Friday in Norman.

“I thought their plan and their pitchers coming in the way they did offset us a little bit,” Gasso said. “I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring tomorrow because I'm looking forward to seeing how our team's gonna respond.”

This story was edited by Austin Curtright and Colton Sulley.

sports editor

Louis Raser is the OU Daily's summer sports editor and covers OU softball. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

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