OU V Texas Tech Softball

OU’s Cydney Sanders connects with the ball during the Sooners’ game against Texas Tech on April 6 at Marita Hynes Field.

Stepping up to the plate for the third time on Saturday, Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders needed to make an adjustment.

The sophomore struck out on her last at-bat, but wasn’t having a bad game. Down to two strikes and two outs in the top of the first inning, Sanders delivered a low line drive down the right foul line to score the Sooners first run of the day.

But when she faced Missouri relief pitcher Meghan Schumacher in the top of the fifth, Sanders could feel herself getting too far ahead of the ball. A pair of wild pitches by Schumacher moved Haley Lee from second base to third and then all the way to home plate to put the Sooners up 7-0.

With a full count and two outs, Sanders hit a solo home run that sailed over the stands in left field.

The Sooners scored six runs in the fifth and sixth innings to advance to Sunday’s NCAA Norman Regional final with an 11-0 win.

“I was just trying to stay disciplined to the zone that I was looking for and it ended up working. So I’m going to continue on doing that for the rest of the season,” Sanders joked.

Head coach Patty Gasso approved of Sanders’ proposed approach at the plate.

The Arizona State transfer has 15 hits in her last 14 games with five home runs and 15 RBI. It wasn’t long ago, Sanders was struggling to match the pace she set as a freshman, holding a .216 average at the plate during the Texas series at the start of April.

Now Sanders is batting .294 and went two for three with three RBI in Saturday’s win.

“Just staying focused to my game plan. Just trusting my hitting and just going from there,” Sanders said about her approach.

Sanders was one of two Sooners to hit a home run on Saturday. Kinzie Hansen hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning to extend the lead to 5-0.

Starting pitcher Jordy Bahl locked down the Tigers’ offense early, allowing no runners aboard until the bottom of the fourth inning. Bahl struck out the first three batters she faced to open up the game and retired nine straight batters before giving up a walk to lead off the fourth.

Two batters later, Kara Daly broke up the Sooners’ hitless bid with a single up the middle. With two runners on and one out, Bahl was able to get the next two batters out to end the threat.

“I don’t remember me having it this deep,” Gasso said about her pitching staff. “Then adding (Kierston Deal) to the equation as a freshman, who we’re very confident in using. It’s going to be very hard for people to plan for us.”

Deal was called on to close out the game in the bottom of the sixth inning and delivered in a big way. The lefty struck out the first two batters of the side, before forcing a foul out in two pitches to end the game.

The Sooners scored their 11 runs on 11 hits with lead-off hits in four of the six innings. Lee was two for three at the plate with an RBI-double.

Oklahoma will face California on Sunday at 1 p.m. TV designations for Sunday’s game have not yet been announced.

Tarik Masri is the interim sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com


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