Chamberlain's Return Sparks 11-3 Win
|W - Stevens (27-7)||3.0||4||2||1||1||5|
|L - Campbell (11-9)||3.0||12||11||11||3||1|
|S - N/A||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|OU - Williams||2||3||2||3||1||1|
|UAB - K. McGrath||2||1||1||1||0||1|
|Player of the Game|
|Lauren Chamberlain // Jr. // IF
Playing for the first time since missing 23 games due to a back injury, Chamberlain finished 2-2 with a walk, two RBI and run scored. In her first plate appearance, she hit a two-run double to the gap in right center.
NORMAN, Okla. – Junior Lauren Chamberlain returned after a 23-game absence because of a back injury to help spark No. 17/12 Oklahoma (37-10) to an 11-3, five-inning victory over UAB (29-21) in game one of a doubleheader Saturday.
Even though OU went 19-4 without her, Chamberlain’s appearance back in the lineup was a welcome sight as the Sooners secured a win over a Blazers team that entered the game with the No. 33 RPI in the country.
It was the team's 19th run-rule win of the season and its eighth straight win outside of Big 12 play.
After a slow start to her season, Chamberlain was red-hot before her injury, hitting .545 with five home runs and nine extra-base hits in the nine games preceding her injury. Saturday, she picked up right where she left off by going 2-2 with a run scored, two runs batted in and a walk.
Before she could step into the box, though, UAB got the on the board in the first inning after uncharacteristic lapses on defense cost the Sooners.
Caitlin Attfield led off the game with a single to center field. Danii Fernandez then put down a sacrifice bunt but all runners were safe as junior third baseman Shelby Pendley opted to go to second and her throw was wide.
During Kristen McGrath’s at-bat, she fouled a ball up behind home plate but sophomore catcher Whitney Ellis had it pop out of her glove. Given a second chance, McGrath lined a shot to center field that deflected off senior centerfielder Destinee Martinez’s glove for the third error of the frame. That enabled Attfield to score.
The lead would not last long, though as the Sooners countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first.
Martinez reached on a one-out single and moved up to second two batters later as senior Brittany Williams walked. Chamberlain then stepped in and didn’t miss a beat as she launched a double into right center to score two.
A seven-run second inning busted the game wide open for the Sooners as they batted around.
With the bases loaded and one out, Pendley pulled a single through the right side to score two runs and make it 4-1. Martinez and Pendley then executed a double steal before Williams went the opposite way for a run-scoring single.
A walk to Chamberlain loaded the bases and two batters later, Ellis chopped a single off the glove of UAB third baseman Danii Fernandez to plate Pendley and extend the lead to 6-1. With the bases full, senior Javen Henson quickly cleared them as she lined a double to right center to score three runs and make it 9-1.
UAB got a run back with an RBI single from Ashely Johnson, but like they did in the first inning, the Sooners answered with two of their own in OU’s portion of the inning.
Martinez collected her third hit of the game with one out in the third and then stole second before Williams cleared the fences in center field with her seventh homer of the season and second in as many games.
Williams finished the game 2-2 with three RBI and tied her career high with three runs scored, while Martinez was 3-3 and also matched her personal best with three runs scored of her own.
The win was earned by sophomore Kelsey Stevens, who saw her record improve to 27-7. She allowed two runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits and a walk. She struck out five before handing the ball off to Pendley for the last two innings.