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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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Drovers Score 50 Runs in LU Series

Laura Barrios Bardi
Leighanne Eaton celebrated with her teammates in the dugout after picking up a double earlier in the season.

The sixth-ranked USAO softball team (32-7, 23-5 SAC) battled a four-game conference series on the road against the Langston University (LU) Lions (8-30, 4-24 SAC), which began Friday, Apr. 12.  The Drovers defeated the Lions in the first two games, winning 15-0 and 16-0. The final two games of the series were played Saturday, Apr. 13.  


Game 1:

The second day of the series saw USAO once again build a comfortable lead in the first inning. Senior centerfielder Macenzie Ruth came in swinging as she hit a single and stole two bases. Her offensive play was followed by sophomore shortstop Malea McMurtrey, who’s single gave the first run for Ruth and USAO. Freshman catcher Leighanne Eaton continued her consistent streak of explosive hits as she smashed the ball over the wall to bring in two runs. After flying out to Lions centerfielder Meilani Butts in the top, junior pitcher Sophie Williams got her revenge by striking her out and another batter to keep USAO in the lead 3-0 after the first inning. 

The Drover bats got hotter with a rally in the second inning. Freshman second baseman Taylor Chronic followed Ruth’s footprints and stole second and third base. McMurtrey then stepped up and led Chronic home. Junior first baseman Sierra Selfridge doubles, and a passed ball allowed McMurtrey to return home. A single from Eaton added another run to the board, but the offense wasn’t done yet as Williams hit her second home run of the season to the keep the score train running. Williams also continued to demonstrate her excellence in the circle as all three batters were effortlessly struck out without a hit, maintaining an 8-0 lead over LU. 

No baserunning action happened for either team in the third inning, as sophomore third baseman Taygan Graham struck out while Chronic and Ruth grounded out to LU fielders. Williams still had the Lions locked in their cages as she struck out each of three batters, once again nullifying the Lions offense.  

The Drovers seemed like they were heading to the dugout early in the fourth inning, as McMurtrey and Selfridge were out after two fielding plays. However, Eaton ignited the run fuse again when she hit a second home run that put her season tally in the double digits. Williams attempted to make another run but was left on base after junior designated player Shaylann Grace struck out. Nevertheless, Williams continued to be perfect on the rubber with another inning of denying movement from the Lions.  

The fifth inning turned out to be a defensive stalemate as neither scored. Freshman third baseman Camryn Clark saw some action with a double and advancing to third on a passed ball, but freshman centerfielder Jordan Ramsay struck out before a follow-up run. Williams threw one more round of tranquilizing pitches to the Lions that closed the game 9-0 in USAO’s favor, making it the Drovers’ fifth consecutive mercy rule win and William’s fourth perfect of the season.  


Game 2: 

The second game started with a defensive tug of war that prevented either team from taking the lead. Freshman leftfielder Kinzie Williams attempted a base run after the Lions third baseman made an error but was left on base after Eaton grounded out to the shortstop. Sophomore pitcher Abi Gregory kicked off the bottom with a strikeout, which then was followed by another play from her and Chronic. A ground out to Clark ensured no runs for the Lions in the first inning. 

Although the action was still slow, USAO managed to gain the upper hand in the second inning. Sophomore right fielder Karmyn James hit a double and sophomore centerfielder Jaylee Willis followed her with a single. A passed ball allowed James to score the first run for the Drovers, though a strikeout ended the opportunity for another. Gregory and McMurtrey demonstrated fielding finesse to starve the Lions, for USAO to lead 1-0. 

Both teams resorted to offensive strategy in the third inning. After McMurtrey stole second, K. Williams sacrificed a hit and Selfridge singled to add another run to the scoreboard. Another strategic sacrifice fly from senior catcher Addison Willis brought Selfridge home. Gregory continued to hold the Lions down with two quick strikeouts, but Lions’ pitcher Tandy Garrett homered and earned two RBIs to give LU their first runs of the series. The play loosened USAO’s lead 3-2 heading into the fourth inning. 

The fourth inning was another show of strategy to keep the Drovers ahead of the Lions. After two fielding plays reduced the chance of another run, Graham and earned a single. This hit helped her sequentially work her way around to steal home. The Drover fielders continued to foil LU’s attempts at loosening the run margin. Gregory continued to work on the rubber to maintain USAO’s 4-2 lead.

Another defensive battle ensured between the fielders in the fifth inning. After Selfridge used a passed ball to work her way around the bases, she was caught stealing home by the Lion’s catcher. Eaton was also caught stealing second by the Lions pitcher and third baseman. After Gregory started the bottom by hitting the batter, freshman pitcher Gabby Toquothty stepped into the circle. She quickly went to work striking out the next batter in line, followed by a defensive play from Graham.

USAO’s bats managed to get the scoring entourage going again in the sixth inning. Graham and J. Willis earned singles and McMurtrey brought them home.  The cycle came full circle after the Lions shortstop committed an error which allowed Selfridge to make it on base and McMurtrey to score. Toquothty continued to excel on the rubber as she struck out three batters for the Drovers to lead 8-2 before the seventh inning.

The Drovers once more overpowered LU during the seventh inning. Just after James singled, J. Willis immediately stepped to the plate and homered, which brought in two more runs. However, the Drovers work was not done yet. After Toquothty struck another batter out, a pack of Lions went loose on the field and the loaded the bases one-by-one. Fortunately, not one successfully returned home. A pop-up to A. Willis closed the game 10-2 in the Drovers favor, concluding the day with consecutive victories and another conference series sweep for USAO.  

The pitching staff disposed of the Lions with ease, combining for 22 strikeouts and only two batters walked. Williams was perfect as she struck out the most batters with twelve and gave up no hits or walked any batters. Gregory and Toquothty each struck out five batters and gave up two hits. Gregory walked two batters. Toquothty threw the highest percentage of strikes with 91.4%, followed by Williams with 70.5% and Gregory with 59.2%. Williams had the most action in the circle with 5.0 innings, while Gregory pitched 4.0 innings and Toquothty pitched 3.0 innings. 

The batting squad was led by Eaton with six hits, three of which led to runs. Between the two games, the Drovers earned 19 runs total. McMurtrey led the team in runs with four. Following her was Eaton with three runs. 

USAO will play at Bill Smith Ballpark for their last conference series at home against Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) during Alumni Weekend starting Friday, Apr. 19 at 5 p.m. with the second game following afterwards. The teams will play again Saturday, Apr. 20 on Senior Day, which will celebrate the accomplishments of the 2024 USAO softball alumni. The games will be at noon and 2 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