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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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Gulf Shore Tides Bring in Two Victories

Macenzie+Ruth+laid+down+a+bunt+against+Wayland+Baptist+University+at+USAOs+most+recent+home+series.+
Laura Barrios Bardi
Macenzie Ruth laid down a bunt against Wayland Baptist University at USAO’s most recent home series.

The #6 NAIA-ranked USAO softball team (11-2, 4-0 SAC) traveled down to Gulf Shores, Ala. for a doubleheader against two opponents at the Gulf Coast Invitational, Saturday, Mar. 2. 

 

Game 1: 

USAO began the tournament against the Campbellsville University (CU) Tigers (7-5, 0-0 MSC) from Campbellsville, Ken. 

The first matchup of the day started with USAO in the driver’s seat. The team’s offense looked to be heading to the dugout early after picking up two outs. However, a single to right field from junior pitcher Sophie Willams changed the Drovers’ tune for the first inning. A fielding error from the Tigers placed freshman catcher Leighanne Eaton on second, and that is where sophomore second baseman Jadyn Goucher hit a single that led Williams home for the first run of the game. Williams showed her versatility at the beginning of the game, striking out all of CU’s batters in the first inning. Thanks to the efforts of Williams, the Drovers were up 1-0 after one inning of action.  

USAO turned the heat up for an explosion of runs at the top of the second inning. Another fielding error allowed junior designated player Shaylann Grace to reach first. This helped the Drovers load up the bases as they had a sacrifice bunt from third baseman Taygan Graham and a single bunt from freshman left fielder Jordan Ramsay. Senior centerfielder Macenzie Ruth began the chain reaction of scores by batting in Grace with a single to the left field. This was followed by another sacrifice bunt from sophomore shortstop Malea McMurtrey, which led Ramsay home. After Eaton hit a single that helped Ruth cross home plate, the Drovers loaded the bases again in time for an Earth-shattering play by junior first baseman Sierra Selfridge. Her double up the middle cleared the bases as Eaton, Williams, and McMurtrey ran home one by one, increasing USAO’s lead to 7-0 after the second inning.  

The game went quiet in the third inning, though Williams and the Drover defense continued to lock down the Tigers as no base hits were allowed and four batters were stuck out. With the Tigers still scoreless, USAO’s batting squad went back to business in the fourth inning. Freshman pinch runner Taylor Chronic scored after Eaton hit a double to the left side. This was followed by Goucher’s triple to the leftfield line, which gave Eaton her second run of the game. A wild pitch kept the run train on the rails, granting Goucher her own trip home. To add insurance to USAO’s lead, a single from Ruth assisted sophomore right fielder Kamryn James in scoring their fourth run of the inning. As Williams left the Tigers without a bite by striking three more out in the bottom of the fourth, USAO now led 11-0. 

The fifth inning was a change of pace for the Drovers, as they did not score any runs in the top. The Tigers showed signs of life by hitting a homerun to left centerfield that gave them their first two runs in the game. However, this wasn’t enough for CU after McMurtrey gave them their final out, leading to an 11-2 mercy rule victory for USAO. 

 

Game 2: 

The Drovers finished up the day against the #16 NAIA-ranked Middle Georgia State University (MGA) Knights (9-4, 3-1 SSAC) from Macon, Geo. 

Their second game began with both teams’ defenses leaving each other scoreless. James prevented two baserunners from reaching the home plate after catching a foul ball towards right field. 

The defensive stalemate continued into the second inning, where USAO’s fielders foiled more attempts from the Knights at scoring their first run. McMurtrey stopped another charge of Knights on loaded bases with their third out of the inning. 

After two innings of guarding the bases from MGA, USAO gained the upper hand in the third inning. Freshman pitcher Jayden Anderson knocked two Knights off their horses by striking them out. The batting squad finally found their groove after two innings of being struck out. Ramsay reached first and second after MGA’s shortstop threw an error. Ruth accompanied her effort, as she hit a single to center field that scored Ramsay and USAO their first run of this matchup. Ruth used her speed to steal second, then McMurtrey followed the play with a single to the left-center field that gave USAO another run, now leading 2-0 against the Knights. 

As USAO’s fielders demonstrated another round of defensive excellence that left MGU scoreless, the offense added another score to their lead. James sacrificed a bunt so sophomore pinch runner Jaylee Willis could reach second base. Graham then hit a double to the right centerfield proving the bunt was worth it as Willis scored a third run for the Drovers. 

With four innings going by as the Knights tussled with USAO’s defense, MGA began to fight back in the fifth inning. They capitalized on a second base-throwing error to capture their first run. The Drovers managed to hold down the Knights after this run, maintaining a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth inning.  

The sixth inning was all about the defense as neither team recorded a hit, with all three of USAO’s batters striking out.  

Tension in the air rose for the Drovers by the time inning seven rolled around. The Knights hit a double down the left field line where two back-to-back runs tied the game 3-3. To prevent MGA from turning the tide with a game-ending run, Williams stepped into the circle to relieve Anderson and immediately earned two strikeouts. Her clutch gene gave USAO a chance of victory in the bottom of the seventh.  

The Drover offense started with a single toward first base from Ramsay. Following this, Ruth made the play of the night by taking advantage of a third base throwing error as she quickly dashed to second and assisted Ramsay in giving USAO the tie-breaking run. This play concluded the game as the Drovers won 4-3 and finished their trip to Alabama on a winning streak. 

Business was usual on the rubber, as the pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts and six batters walked. Williams struck out the most batters with eleven, allowed two hits, and walked one batter. Anderson struck out three batters, allowed seven hits, and walked five batters. Williams threw the highest percentage of strikes with 68.4%, followed by Anderson with 58.4%. Anderson saw more action in the circle as she pitched 6.1 innings, while Williams pitched 5.2 innings. 

The batters also did their job as Ruth led the team with four hits, two of which led to runs. Between the two games, the Drovers earned 15 runs. Ramsay led the team in runs with three in the doubleheader. Following her were Ruth, Williams, and Eaton with two runs each. The team struck out 15 times across both games. 

USAO will be back home at Bill Smith Ballpark for a doubleheader against Peru State College (PSC) starting Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 4 p.m., then the day will end with the second game at 6 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 fifth-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
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura is a fourth-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