NORMAN, Okla - Just a couple of weeks ago, University of Oklahoma softball pitcher Paige Lowary was drafted No. 1 overall in the National Pro Fastpitch League; on Friday afternoon she showed why.
The two-time defending national champion No. 4-seeded OU softball team won three straight games in the NCAA Regionals last weekend to advance to the Super Regionals and need to win 2-of-3 from the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks to make it to the College World Series next week. They rode the arm of Lowary and the bat of freshman Jocelyn Alo to a 7-2 win in the first game of the series against the Razorbacks.
It might be another three years before Alo is taken in the National Pro Fastpitch League but if she continues to spank the ball like she has all year, she also may be the No. 1 pick overall. She crushed her nation-leading 27th home run of the season in the third and then Shay Knighten made it back-to-back shots in a three-run inning that broke the game open 5-0.
Alo is now only four home runs away from breaking the all-time NCAA record for a freshman held by another OU alum, Lauren Chamberlain, who hit 30 in 2012.
Nicole Pendley scored OU's first run in the second inning on a ball that was hit off the Arkansas pitcher's glove. Nicole Mendes then made it 2-0, scoring on a wild pitch.
Lowary, a big lefty in the circle, struck out six, while giving up just one run.
It was the Sooners 15th NCAA Tournament victory in a row, which ties the longest winning streak ever. They could break that record by eliminating the Razorbacks Saturday in a noon game.
The Sooners now have a gaudy 54-3 record this year and are undefeated at home (29-0). What may have made Alo's blast more satisfying was that she and Arkansas pitcher Mary Haff are two of the three players up for Schutt Sports/NFCA National Freshman of the Year award in the NCAA.
If OU were able to win its third national championship in a row, the Sooners would be the first team to do that since UCLA from 1988-90.
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