NORMAN, Okla. In its first home game in two weeks, the No. 10 Oklahoma softball team was unable to maintain its perfect record at the OU Softball Complex as Oklahoma City University handed the Sooners a 6-5 loss. OU fell to 13-4-1 on the year while OCU, currently ranked No. 3 in NAIA, pushed its perfect record to 8-0.
Oklahoma couldn’t keep up with an OCU offense that recorded 13 hits while the Sooners only posted seven. Junior Amber Spaulding led the Oklahoma offensive effort with a 2-for-3 performance and one RBI while freshman Samantha Ricketts went two-for-four with two RBI.
The Sooners got off to a strong start as Ricketts put the Sooners on the board first with her smoking double to right center field that scored Norrelle Dickson and gave the Sooners a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
OCU returned the favor in the top of the second as Rachel Cope reached on a double off to the wall to left field, which was followed by an Ursula Lundberg RBI double to score Cope and tie the game up at one apiece.
The Sooners answered in the second frame after sophomore Savannah Long’s double down the left field line was followed by a Stacia Aleman single to center field to score Long and give the Sooners back the lead at 2-1.
OU pitcher Stacy Braddock entered the game for starter Nicole Denes in the third inning. Denes allowed one earned run and three hits in two innings of work. Braddock retired the side in the third, but was unable to do the same in the fourth as OCU capitalized with five runs on six hits in the fourth frame.
OCU’s Cope led the fourth-inning rally with an RBI double to left center field followed by a bunt single to advance Cope to third. Beasley contributed to the rally with an RBI single to right field. The Stars continued their offensive power as Lelys Gomez highlighted the evening with a three-run homer to left field to give OCU the 6-2 advantage over the Sooners. Freshman Morgan Hudsonpillar came in for relief of Braddock to get the Sooners out of the inning with a strikeout.
Braddock (4-2) took the loss for the Sooners after allowing five earned runs on six hits in 1.2 innings. Hudsonpillar finished out the game and allowed no earned runs on four hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Junior Amber Spaudling tried to spark the Sooner offense in the fifth with a home run, her second of the year, to left field. However, OCU’s Dasha Shembereva struck out the side to end the inning.
The Sooners had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh as Aleman led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on two straight passed balls. Dickson’s sacrifice fly to left field scored Aleman and put the Sooners within two. Spaulding had another clutch moment in the game as she singled to center field and scored on a Ricketts double as the Sooners closed the gap, 6-5. However, Oklahoma didn’t have enough rally left as it ended the inning and the game on a caught fly ball.
OCU’s Shembereva (7-0) continued her perfect record in the circle after allowing five earned runs on seven hits.
The Sooners will continue their home stand as they host the Norman Residence Inn Invitational March 4-5 at the OU Softball Complex. The three-team tournament will include No. 19 LSU and Troy. OU opens tournament play with a 2:15 meeting against LSU on Saturday followed by a 4:30 contest against Troy. In Sunday action, the Sooners will match up against LSU at 12:15 p.m. and round out the tournament against Troy at 2:30 p.m.