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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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Drovers Sweep WBU in Home Opener

Sophie Williams pitches her second perfect collegiate game against WBU in game one.

USAO’s softball team (8-2, 4-0 SAC) began their home opener and first Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) matchup against the Wayland Baptist University (WBU) Pioneers (2-14, 0-4 SAC) Friday, Feb. 23. They played against WBU in a four-game series, with two of their games being played on Friday, and the other two games on Saturday.  

Game 1: 

The first matchup started well for the Drovers, as the Pioneers were shut out by junior pitcher Sophie Williams. Speed was an evident trait for USAO as well, with senior outfielder Macenzie Ruth stealing second and third after her hit to first. Her efforts allowed sophomore infielder Malea McMurtrey to hit an RBI toward the left side of the field which brought Ruth home for the first run of the game. 

After this, McMurtrey advanced to second plate on a wild pitch and stole third. Freshman catcher Leighanne Eaton was right behind McMurtrey as she walked to first and stole second. This set up outfielder Sierra Selfridge to bring both home after an error from the WBU shortstop. This unconventional series of events gave the Drovers a 3-0 lead at the end of the first inning.  

At the top of the second inning, Williams struck out two batters which helped keep WBU off the scoreboard. USAO had some movement to the bases with sophomore infielder/outfielder Tagan Graham being walked, and Ruth reaching first on a passed ball. Ruth stole second shortly after, marking her third steal of the game. The Drovers struck out after this, keeping the score 3-0 for USAO.  

Williams continued her excellence in the third inning, striking out all three of the Pioneer batters. The bats awakened for the Drovers as Eaton hit a double to right field, allowing sophomore infielder Jadyn Goucher and utility player Taylor Cronic to score their first runs of the night.

Eaton scored another run for herself, after advancing to third and then home from two wild pitches. After hitting a single, Selfridge scored her first run off a triple by junior infielder Shaylann Grace. Ruth’s career night continued as she hit a triple, earning her three RBIs as freshman outfielder Jordan Ramsey and Graham made it home, while an error from the Pioneers gave her enough time to cross home plate. The domination of the Drover offense made the score 10-0 going into the top of the fourth inning.  

USAO continued to shut down WBU offensively as Williams was consistent, striking out three more batters at the top of the fourth. The Drover offense also managed to score another run as Goucher ran to home after a single from sophomore infielder Trinity Cotanny. This game headed into run-rule territory as USAO led 11-0 going into the fifth inning.  

William’s perfection continued into the fifth inning yet again, as she struck out all three Pioneers. With the final strike out, USAO won on a mercy rule, 11-0. 

Williams completed her second perfect game from the rubber in her collegiate carerer, striking out 13 batters across five innings. This strong performance improved her win-loss record to 4-1 this season.  

Game 2: 

After a superior performance in the first game, the Drovers pushed for the same result in the second. Starting at the top of the first inning, the Pioneers were able to get a player to third based on an error from right field. This allowed them to score their first run of the series with a single up the middle. Ruth tried to answer in a hurry after hitting a single toward left field and stealing second. However, she was caught stealing third. This wasn’t the end of the inning for the Drovers though, as Goucher hit the first homerun of the series bringing herself and Eaton home. Goucher’s bomb put USAO back in the lead 2-1 going into the second inning.  

The top of the second looked better for the Drovers as they didn’t allow any runs and freshman pitcher Jayden Anderson recorded her second strikeout of the game. In the bottom of the inning, Ruth added another RBI to her stat sheet as she hit a single, giving freshman outfielder Allyson Arthur enough time to score. Ruth stole second base once again, marking her fifth steal for the night. USAO stayed on top after this inning, with the score 3-1.  

Anderson looked to be in her element as she kept the Pioneers off the bases and struck one player out at the top of the third. The Drovers scored again as Eaton hit her first homerun of the series and second of the game.  

After this, there would be no scoring from either team until the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Ruth stole another base after hitting a single.  

Going into the top of the fifth inning, Anderson allowed one walk, but the defense was able to keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard. After going scoreless in the fourth inning, Eaton made another splash play as she hit her second homerun of the game and third of the season. This offensive showing from Eaton kept the Drovers in the driver’s seat with a 5-1 score. 

The top of the sixth inning started strong for USAO, as they recorded a double play. However, a single to right field followed by a double to left field gave WBU enough time to cross home plate for their second run of the game. USAO’s offense answered in a big way as McMurtrey brought home Ramsay and Arthur off her single up the middle. Eaton brought her teammate McMurtrey home as well, after sending the ball to left field. The batting squad regained a comfortable lead for the Drovers at 8-2 going into the final inning.  

The pitching squad for USAO made a change at the top of the seventh, placing freshman Gabby Toquothy in for Anderson. Toquothy made her mark in the final inning of the game, striking out two batters and closing out a victory for the Drovers at 8-2.  

The two-game sweep was monumental for USAO and saw Ruth steal a program record. The six steals she had throughout the night earned her USAO’s record of career bases stolen. Ruth has stolen 130 bases across her career for the Drovers, surpassing Shyla Clouse. 

The pitching squad was excellent for the Drovers, as the trio of Williams, Anderson, and Toquothy struck out 19 batters across 12 innings. USAO only saw four hits across both games as well.  

The batters took care of business across both games as they had 21 hits altogether. The Drovers kept their hand-eye coordination intact as well, only being struck out nine times on Friday’s games. Eaton showcased her batting ability the most, as she went five for five at the plate, with two homeruns and five RBIs.

Game 3: 

The first inning of game three went by rather quickly although neither team scored. USAO had the upper hand as Williams went to work striking three batters out. McMurtrey made her way to third base before the third out ended the bottom inning.  

While Williams shut down two more batters in the second inning, the pace changed dramatically as USAO’s batting squad sliced through WBU’s defense. Goucher got the excitement going by stealing second after hitting a single up the middle, then Selfridge followed up also by singling to the center. Grace completed the run after a third baseman error allowed her reach first and Goucher to slide home. Selfridge and Grace kept the parade going with two more runs, while Ramsay took advantage of two more defensive errors and a ground out to close the inning with a 4-0 lead.  

USAO had the game in the bag by the third inning. Williams gave up only one hit and struck out five more batters for the remaining innings. The batting squad launched a full-throttle rampage at WBU, starting with Eaton’s fourth homerun of the season. The dugout emerged with a loud ovation for Eaton after she made the highlight play. Graham batted a single run that advanced Grace to third and rewarded Selfridge, as she returned home. Ramsay finished the carousal with a triple RBI that scored her, Graham, and Grace. The Drovers further increased their lead by a thrilling 9-0.  

The final two innings were a victory lap for USAO. After McMurtrey reached first and stole second base, back-to-back wild pitches advanced her and freshman pinch runner Kenzi Williams to third and second, respectively. Eaton finished the job by hitting a grounder to complete McMurtrey’s journey home. As the Drovers led the game 10-0 after the top of the fifth, the run rule meant they won their third consecutive home game.  

Game 4: 

The final game started similarly, as both teams’ defense canceled each other out scoreless. Sophomore pitcher Abi Gregory eliminated three batters without allowing a single hit.  

As WBU racked up more outs in the second inning, USAO took advantage with another run rampage. Goucher scored the first run courtesy of Selfridge hitting a double. After an error ensured senior catcher Addison Willis on second, Graham hit a single that brought Selfridge and Willis home with two more runs and a comfortable 3-0 lead for USAO.  

Although McMurtrey made an error on top of third, it had no effect as the fielders rendered the WBU bats stone cold stiff. Meanwhile, the Drovers bats remained hot after McMurtrey’s triple sent Ruth dashing home after she reached first and stole second. A single to the center from Williams gave McMurtrey her own run and a 5-0 lead for USAO at the end of the third inning.  

Anderson relieved Gregory in the top of the fourth, and the fielders continued denying any offense from the Pioneers. The Drover’s batters heated up once again for an extremely impressive series. The offense began with Graham, Ramsay, and Ruth loading the bases. Grace was hit by a pitch that triggered another run parade, then Graham scored followed by another run from Ramsay. Eaton took advantage of a third base error to reach second which allowed McMurtrey and Ruth to score more runs for the team.   

As if the inning couldn’t get any better, sophomore pinch hitter Karmyn James’ double carried the seemingly endless marathon along as Eaton and Williams ran home. Graham’s and Selfridge’s plays then assisted James to give her the last run of the inning. The dynamite offensive showing gave USAO an insurmountable 12-0 lead.  

Although freshman pitcher Allison Couch subbed very late for Anderson in the top of the fifth, it didn’t matter for the Drovers as they concluded this game with a 12-0 victory and complete shut out of the Pioneers.   

The pitchers showed muscle on the rubber with a combined 15 strikeouts and seven batters walked. Williams struck out the most batters with ten, allowed only one hit, and walked one batter. Williams also threw the highest percentage of strikes with 72.9%, followed by Anderson with 55.6% and Gregory with 50.8%. Williams also saw the most action, as she pitched the most innings at 5.0. Following her efforts, Gregory pitched 3.0 innings, Anderson pitched 1.1 innings, and Couch pitched 0.2 innings.  

The batting squad was also a force to be reckoned with. Selfridge led in hits with four, three of which led to runs. Between the four games, the Drovers put up 41 runs. McMurtrey, Selfridge, and Ramsay were the leaders with three runs each in the final two games.  

USAO will be on the road to Mobile, Alabama for a single game against University of Mobile (UM). The first pitch is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29 at noon.  

 

Gary Jackson is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

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
Gary Jackson, Sports Editor
Gary is a third-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA) and as a host for the Drover Talk podcast at USAO. Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers during the past two summers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - present Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022
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