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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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Intense Rivalry Split Doubleheader

Eaton and Ruth hit home runs Friday night, and Grace hit a walkoff single to win game one
Laura Barrios Bardi
Leighanne Eaton knocked the ball around the park against Peru State College earlier this month.

On Friday night, the #2 nationally ranked USAO Drovers (18-3, 9-1 SAC) matched up against #5 ranked Oklahoma City (OCU) Stars (20-2, 9-1 SAC) at Bill Smith Ballpark in a double header. Entering this game, both teams sat at 8-0 and were tied for first place in conference standings. The night was dedicated to celebrating Women’s History Month as Dr. Kathy Black, an OCW alum, threw the first pitch of the evening.

Before the game began, fans knew it would be a close matchup. The Drovers and Stars faced each other in the conference finals the past five years and the record between these two teams since 2018 is 15-15.


Game 1:

Starting junior pitcher Sophie Williams had a good start for the Drovers, only allowing three hits throughout the first five innings. In 13 games this season, Williams has posted an incredible 105 strikeouts.

The matchup was all defense through the first four innings, but the Drovers began to heat up in the bottom of the fourth starting with a home run from freshman Leighanne Eaton. With teammates sophomore Jadyn Goucher and sophomore Kamryn James at third and second respectively, sophomore Taygan Graham hit a single into left field that brought the two runners home, making the score at the end of the fourth 3-0 in favor of the Drovers.

The fifth inning saw the pitchers take control again, with three runners up and three runners down for both sides.

As the game got closer to ending it felt like the Stars of OCU were a bit quiet for how highly anticipated this game was. However, OCU came into the sixth inning ready to make a comeback. Williams gave up her first walk of the game, outside of hitting a player with a pitch early in the first inning. After gaining an out, the Stars hit a double to put runners at first and second. To bring the runners home, the Stars hit a home run to center field tying the game at 3-3 with little time left.

In the bottom of the sixth with freshman Kinzie Williams on second base, freshman Jordan Ramsay hit a single out to center field to bring Williams home and give the Drovers an advantage again, yet not a large enough lead to feel safe. USAO went into the final inning at Bill Smith Ballpark with a score of 4-3.

After an error from USAO in the top of the seventh that made a single a three-base turnover, OCU was able to get their last hit of the game to bring that runner home tying the game 4-4.

USAO’s last at-bat got off to a slow start, with the first two hitters getting out consecutively. Luckily, the Drovers had a spark in them still, starting with a single to left field by Goucher followed by another single from junior Sierra Selfridge to put two runners on base and one of those in scoring position. Next at the plate was junior Shaylann Grace who followed in her teammate’s footsteps and hit a walk off single to left field which brought Goucher home. Grace’s hit earned USAO the first win in the four-game series with a 5-4 score.

Goucher ended the game with two earned runs, two hits, and a stolen base. Senior Macenzie Ruth ended the game with two hits and two stolen bases.

Williams stood tall in the circle for all seven innings where she faced 29 batters. She threw 60 strikes out of her 92 total pitches thrown. In her time, Williams allowed four runs off six hits, walked one, and struck out four.


Game 2:

The starting pitcher for game two was freshman Jayden Anderson. In her ten appearances in the circle this season, Anderson has accumulated 54 strikeouts.

With one out left in the top of the first, OCU had players on first and third. Eaton made a huge play for USAO, as an OCU player tried stealing second Eaton was able to get the ball to Goucher to tag the baserunner before she got to the bag.

As tension continued the rise, the game stayed quiet early on as the pitchers handled their business. The top of the third inning saw OCU get their first runs of the game, starting with a double and then two singles that brought runners home to add two runs to the scoreboard. OCU held a lead of 2-0 going into the bottom of the third.

When USAO came to the plate, Graham was able to get the first hit of the game for the Drovers with a single. However, after a fielder’s choice saw Ramsay reach first, Graham was called out at second. Ruth hit a single down the right field line that allowed Ramsay to reach third. Ruth then stole second on the next play to put two players in scoring position. A pop fly to left field ended the offensive resurgence from the Drovers and the inning.

Inning four saw three OCU players step up to bat and all three of them sit back down. Anderson got them out one after another and the last two outs were both strikeouts. On the offensive end this inning, Eaton doubled, but USAO was unable to capitalize on it.

The fifth inning OCU was able to add another run to their lead after an error in the outfield by USAO. One runner was able to score but USAO’s defense got the third out before any more damage could be done.

By the sixth inning USAO was running out of time. OCU started the inning with a single where the runner stole second on the next play. USAO got two outs quickly after this, however, another single allowed that base runner to reach home, making the score now 4-0 in favor of the Stars.

Once USAO got to the plate, a huge home run from Ruth kept spirits alive. After Ruth, McMurtrey stepped up to the plate and got herself a single. However, the luck ran out for the Drovers this inning with McMurtrey called out at second on the next play and the two consecutive outs at the plate. The score at the end of the sixth inning was 4-1.

Top of the seventh started with a groundout right back to Anderson. OCU got a single after that play but USAO’s defense was able to hold them to just that. Getting two straight outs afterwards to end the inning.

On the offensive end, USAO couldn’t come back from the three-run deficit. OCU got three straight outs and that was the game. The final score was 4-1.

For the Drover offense, Eaton earned a double in game two, and Ruth knocked the ball over the fence and earned one RBI. Ruth also utilized her speed on the base paths to steal one base. Anderson toed the rubber for seven innings, where she allowed four runs off seven hits, struck out five, and hit three batters. In the 31 batters faced, Anderson threw 73 strikes out of 111 pitches.

The rival teams postponed the next double header due to rainy weather. More information to come. The Drover’s conference record now stands at 9-1 and OCU matches that record. These two teams are currently tied for first place in the Sooner Athletic Conference.


Matthew Yokum is a second-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Matthew Yokum
Matthew Yokum, Senior Writer
Matthew is a second-year communication major from Chickasha. He is also a member of USAO's men's soccer team. When he’s not kicking a ball or writing, you can find Matthew at home watching his favorite TV shows.   Experience with The Trend: Senior Writer: May 2023 - present Contributing Writer: Aug. 2022 - April 2023
Laura Barrios Bardi
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