softball photo

UW left field Melanie Cross drops a fly ball hit by Oklahoma's Shay Knighten in the fourth inning Saturday in Norman, Okla.

NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma softball pitching staff has been unhittable this weekend.

The University of Wisconsin witnessed their dominance up close Saturday.

Junior left-hander Giselle Juarez struck out 16 and recorded her third no-hitter of the season as the top-ranked Sooners blanked the Badgers 4-0 in an NCAA tournament double-elimination regional.

Juarez improved to 24-0 this season and her only blemishes Saturday were allowing two batters to reach first base — a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and a walk in the sixth. The effort came a day after three Oklahoma pitchers — Juarez threw the first three innings — combined for a five-inning perfect game against UMBC.

“We’re getting spoiled here,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said of Juarez. “To do this in regionals is unheard of. … She was in the zone last night. She was in the zone today. All her pitches are working … She is nails out there.”

Oklahoma scored single runs in the first and fifth innings against UW starter Hayley Hestekin (17-5). Caleigh Clifton’s two-run home run in the seventh off reliever Kaitlyn Menz capped the scoring.

UW (41-14), which had only four hits during Friday’s 4-2 victory over Notre Dame, was scheduled to play Notre Dame late Saturday night. The winner advances to today’s championship game against Oklahoma.

The Sooners (51-2) have won 41 consecutive games, the second-longest winning streak in NCAA Division I history.

Oklahoma 100 010 2 — 4 8 0

Wisconsin 000 000 0 — 0 0 2

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Juarez (W; 7-0-0-1-16); Hestekin (L; 4.2-5-1-2-3), Menz (2.1-3-2-0-4).

Leading hitters — O: Clifton (3x4). HR —Clifton.


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