NORMAN — OU faced what could easily have been a trap series this weekend, but the Sooners put all doubts to rest Saturday by soundly defeating Alabama-Birmingham in a doubleheader thanks to the return of one of the nation’s best sluggers.
That would be Lauren Chamberlain, who made her return to the lineup after nearly two months out with a back injury. The junior already owns the school record for home runs and is on pace to break the national record before she graduates. But a back injury sidelined Chamberlain early in the season and put those plans on hold.
When she finally did make her return, in an 11-3 OU victory over UAB in the opener, Chamberlain made it look like she had never been gone. She finished 2 for 2, connecting for a two-run double in the first inning and also drawing a walk later in the game.
With Chamberlain leading the way, the Sooners’ offense broke open the game. Shelby Pendley added a pair of RBIs, Brittany Williams hit her seventh home run of the year and Destinee Martinez tied a career high with three runs scored in a 3-for-3 performance at the plate.
The victory set the tone for the second contest, when 12th-ranked OU pulled away for an 8-4 win to improve to 38-10 on the season after trailing early in the game. Pendley tied a school record with two triples and finished with five RBIs in the victory, while Kelsey Stevens earned both wins on the day.
The teams will meet at noon today for the series finale at Marita Hynes Field, wrapping up an eight-game homestand for the Sooners.
They’ll travel to Arkansas for a game Wednesday before hosting Texas Tech next weekend with a chance to wrap up the conference title. At 11-2, the Sooners are two games ahead of Texas in the loss column after the latter dropped a game to Oklahoma State on Friday, and the Sooners also own the tiebreaker. In order for OU to lose the title race, the Longhorns would need to win out while OU would have to lose three of its final five conference games.
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