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Sooners hoping to carry home success to new Love's Field

Feb. 29—Oklahoma had won 65 consecutive games at Marita Hynes Field before saying goodbye to its longtime home after last season.

This weekend, the Sooners get their first opportunity to defend their new home field at the OU Tournament. Love's Field and the Sooners' new softball facilities will offer 28,832 more square feet and 2,822 more seats to become the largest on-campus softball stadium in the country.

An opening ceremony will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. before the Sooners' first home game of the season against Miami (OH) at 2 p.m.

After playing five games this weekend, the Sooners will remain at home to play their next six games before hitting the road to face Texas Tech on March 15.

Oklahoma was nearly unbeatable during 25 seasons at Marita Hynes Field with a 548-62-1 record. It's had four undefeated seasons at the stadium and was 113-2 over its last five seasons.

They enter their home tournament 14-0 this season and riding a 67 game winning streak. It's been more than a full calendar year since the last time the Sooners lost a game.

Six of their 14 wins have come by run-rule and only two games were decided by three runs or fewer. Still, the Sooners have been challenged early in the year, particularly in the opening weekend against No. 9 Duke and No. 10 Washington.

Their offense is once again playing like one of the best in the country, but the team's pitching depth has been one of the biggest reasons they've been able to sustain their success from last season.

The Sooners' bullpen hasn't allowed a run this season with opponents batting just .112 against their relievers. They also have the top defense in the Big 12, with a .986 fielding percentage including just five errors.

Karlie Keeney (17.1 innings pitched), Paytn Monticelli (7.1 innings pitched) and SJ Guerin (5 innings pitched) haven't allowed a single run all season. Transfer Kelly Maxwell has four starts and a 1.03 ERA with 10 hits allowed and 19 strikeouts.

No opponent has been able to score a run on the Sooners after the fourth inning this season and they've only allowed two runs after the second inning.

At the plate, the Sooners have a .357 batting average and five starters batting over .400.

Freshman Kasidi Pickering leads the team with a .471 batting average and 10 RBI in 34 plate appearances. The former highly-touted recruit has started eight games in right field and five games in left field so far this season.

Alyssa Brito and Tiare Jennings are each tied for second in the Big 12 in home runs with five. Ella Parker, another freshman, and Kinzie Hansen each have three.

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