Big 12 Home Run Leader No. 7 Oklahoma Downs Kansas, 8-0
March 31, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. – Paced by two more home runs from Big 12 leader Lauren Chamberlain, No. 7 Oklahoma defeated the Kansas softball team, 8-0, in six innings to take game two of the series Saturday afternoon at Martina Hynes Field.
Kansas (23-9, 2-6) fell victim once again to an unstoppable Sooner offense. In addition to Chamberlain, who connected on her 15th and 16th home runs in the second game of the series, Oklahoma (29-4, 5-1) hit four total on the day, bringing the Sooners to a Big 12 Conference-leading 53 homers on the year.
The Jayhawk offense was led by redshirt senior Liz Kocon and freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin, who each ripped a double in the contest. The extra base hits couldn’t be converted into runs, however, as Kansas fell in shortened matchup. Although Kansas held the Sooners to only four runs through the first five innings, a four-run sixth put Oklahoma over the run-rule mark.
Junior Morgan Druhan (7-3) took the loss in the circle, making two different appearances. She started the game with two scoreless innings before surrendering a two-run shot to Chamberlain. The long ball immediately prompted head coach Megan Smith to bring in sophomore Kristin Martinez. A solo home run to infielder Javen Henson marked the only run Martinez allowed in two innings.
Smith used all three starters, who combined for six strikeouts on Saturday, when freshman Alicia Pillecame in to start the fifth. She led off her appearance with back-to-back walks and an RBI single, but quickly regrouped and collected three strikeouts to leave the bases loaded.
Things did not go as smoothly in the sixth, when Chamberlain led off the final inning with her second home run of the day. An RBI single from catcher Jessica Shults forced Smith to call Druhan back into the game. The first batter she faced, second baseman Georgia Casey, hit the two-run homer that ended the game in six innings.
In the opposing dugout, junior Michelle Gascoigne (12-0) tossed a complete game shutout for the Sooners. She walked none and struck out nine in the win.
To start the game, a single and a pair of one-out walks found Druhan in trouble in the bottom of the first, but the junior transfer pitched unfazed. She struck out the next two Sooner batters to leave the bases loaded and send KU to the plate for the top of the second.
Once there, the Jayhawks got a kick start from Kocon, who led off the Jayhawks’ second with a double to right field. A sharp throw from Shults picked off Kocon, negating KU’s first hit of the series. The Jayhawk defense countered in the Sooners’ following at bat, when junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery and senior first baseman Marissa Ingleturned a double play and both teams moved ahead scoreless.
After Druhan held the offensive powerhouse to a shallow fly out in her first at bat, OU’s Chamberlain busted out her third home run of the weekend in the bottom of the third to hand the Sooners a 2-0 lead. The long ball also ended Druhan’s start as Martinez was called in to pitch.
Martinez came in and ended the third and quickly collected the first two outs of the fifth before shortstop Javen Henson connected on a line drive that cleared the left field fence. Trailing 3-0, freshman Alicia Pilletook over in the circle to start the bottom of the fifth.
The Jayhawk rookie surrendered consecutive walks and an RBI single to left fielder Erica Sampson before buckling down for back-to-back strikeouts. With two down and the bases loaded, Pille faced centerfielder Destinee Martinez. OU’s leadoff hitter, Martinez, stepped in 3-for-3 on the day. Facing her for the first time on Saturday, Pille struck her out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
That would mark the last defensive stop Kansas would muster as the Sooner offensive stronghold took over in the sixth. The four runs OU posted in the frame ended the game an inning short of regulation.
Kansas and Oklahoma will wrap up the weekend series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.