The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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16 Innings, Two Wins, and a Broken Record

USAO starts their season off right with two victories in Texas
Laura Barrios Bardi
Sophie Williams released the ball in a post-season game in May.

Following a nine-month rest from another stellar season, USAO softball (2-0, 0-0 SAC) opened its 2024 campaign on a road trip to Mesquite, Tex. to play in the SCS NAIA Invitational, Friday, Feb. 9. Going in as the #6 ranked team in the NAIA preseason poll, the Drovers immediately resumed their dominance with two hard fought victories on the first day of the tournament.

USAO played their first game of the season and invitational against the Tabor College Blue Jays (1-1, 0-0 KCAC) from Hillsboro, Kan.

While both teams locked horns in a war of attrition for the entire seven innings, pitcher Jayden Anderson kept the Blue Jays’ bats frozen for a scoreless tie. An extra eighth inning meant the game was down to the last wire.

USAO thawed out the bats in the tiebreaker inning, when USAO’s third baseman Jayden Goucher hit a two-run double that sent shortstop Malea McMurtrey and centerfielder Macenzie Ruth dashing home. A Blue Jay managed to score one run in the bottom inning, but she was too late as the game ended in favor of the Drovers with a victorious 2-1 final score.

The momentum expected to continue in game number two, where USAO faced the #10 NAIA ranked Midland University Warriors (4-1, 0-0 GPAC) from Fremont, Neb.

A heated pitcher’s duel went on for three innings, resulting in another scoreless tie. The Drovers broke the cycle with a single run in the fourth inning, which the Warriors retaliated in the bottom of the fifth inning with a run tying the score at 1-1.

Neither team scored for the next two innings, resulting in the second extra inning game of the day. As USAO’s pitcher Sophie Williams denied any further runs on the top for the Warriors, the Drover offense settled the score in the bottom inning. Ruth answered the call as she drove in Kamryn James to a walk-off run, ending the game 2-1 in USAO’s favor and a two game sweep.

The Drovers were able to score four total runs both games. Ruth was the leader with two singles, followed by McMurtrey and James each with one run.

The pitching staff of Anderson and Williams was in top form as both pitchers combined for 27 strikeouts, just one run off four hits, and walked three batters. Anderson made history in her debut on the rubber as she broke a program record with 19 strikeouts. The strikeouts record for the Drovers was previously held by Emily Cerny, who had 17 strikeouts in two separate games back in 2019. Along with breaking the strikeout record, Anderson only allowed one hit and two walks during the first game, while Williams had eight strikeouts, allowed three hits, and one walk. Both pitchers played in all eight innings each against Tabor and Midlands, respectively.

Leading the batting squad for the Drovers, Ruth led the team in hits going four for eight across both games with two of those hits leading to runs. The team had seven hits across both games and was struck out 11 times in that span.

USAO will continue their run at the NAIA Invitational where they will face a triple-header of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OWU), Missouri Baptist University (MBU), and Benedictine College (BC). USAO will begin Saturday, Feb. 10 at 12:30 p.m. against OWU. The Drovers will roll into game two against MBU at 4:45 p.m., and the day will wrap up with BC at 6:45 p.m.


Jordan Prewitt is a fourth-year English major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Jordan Prewitt, Contributing Writer
Jordan is a fourth-year English major from Stillwater. He graduated from the Information Technology program at Meridian Technology Center in 2019.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Oct. 2023 - present
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura Barrios Bardi a third-year art major from El Paso, TX. Laura currently works for USAO's Sports Information Department as a photographer. She is also a member of USAO's track and field team. Her hobbies include stargazing, spending time with friends, and working towards elevating her photography skills.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Photographer: Nov. 2022 - present