NORMAN — After an unplanned week off the playing field, the Sooners were more than ready to get back on it for a doubleheader Friday against Northern Colorado and Drake.
That determination showed itself early, and often. Top-ranked Oklahoma scored four runs in the first at-bat of the day, with Shelby Pendley homering to bring in three runs and set the tone for a dominant day for the Sooners.
The offensive barrage didn’t slow down, with 9 more runs coming in the second, and OU (20-1) walked away from its first games in six days with a 14-0, five-inning run-rule victory over Northern Colorado (7-13-1) and then a 10-2 six-inning win over Drake (13-9) in the nightcap.
OU hit seven home runs on Friday, with sophomores Pendley and Lauren Chamberlain leading the way. Pendley finished the first game with 7 RBIs, going 3-for-3 at the plate and homering twice. She followed that up with another two hits and an RBI against Drake.
“Having a week off was nice, but we were ready to get back on the field,” she said. “That first homer, I just saw the pitch and hit it. It was a momentum-builder for us.”
If anyone was able to outperform Pendley, it was Chamberlain. She hit three home runs on the day to bring her season total to a team-leading 11. After knocking one over the wall against Northern Colorado, she cracked two more against Drake, the first turning a 2-0 margin into a 5-0 lead as part of a five-run fourth inning. The blast left the Drake outfield staring in awe as it cleared not just the field but the entire complex at Marita Hynes Field.
She wasn’t finished. In her next at-bat in the fifth inning, she sent a pitch high and deep into dead center. So high, in fact, that it cleared the American flag flying tall over the center-field wall. She finished 3-for-4 and batted in five runners against Drake, giving her 8 RBIs on the day.
Chamberlain and coach Patty Gasso both credited the bottom of the lineup with consistently getting on base, setting up Chamberlain’s big at-bats at the top of the order.
“They do a really good job turning it over to the top, and that’s important to our success,” Chamberlain said. “I was just looking for good pitches and seeing them in the zone.”
Georgia Casey and Brittany Williams also added home runs for OU, bringing the Sooners’ Big 12-leading total to 30.
The pair of wins was OU’s first games since a 4-1 victory over Houston on Sunday. The Sooners were originally scheduled to play at Wichita State on Wednesday, but weather conditions forced the cancellation.
The weather Friday wasn’t perfect either, with cool temperature, light rain and gusty winds. But that didn’t slow the Sooners, who finished with 21 hits through 10 innings.
And it didn’t stop pitchers Casey and Keilani Ricketts, who picked up wins Friday. It was Casey’s first career start, and the sophomore from Australia delivered against Northern Colorado, giving up just one hit in 3.2 innings before giving way to freshman Leslie Miller to strike out three of the four batters she faced in her pitching debut.
“It was a long-anticipated start for Georgia, and she threw well,” Gasso said. “And I’m sure Leslie was probably scared to death, but she did a good job. I saw a lot of leadership tonight from the rest of the team letting them know they were behind them.”
Ricketts went to work in the second contest, striking out five of the first six batters she faced on her way to finishing with 11 punch-outs.
OU takes the field today a little earlier than planned. Due to weather concerns, today’s games have been moved up to 11 a.m. against Northern Colorado and 1 p.m. against Drake.
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