OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28, 2014) – The recipe for a doubleheader sweep of Rogers State on Friday was a simple one for Oklahoma Christian – combine a pair of shutout pitching performances with opportune offense.
Shea Coats and Taylor Mosher delivered OC’s first back-to-back shutouts in more than two seasons and Niki Davidson, Lauren Pittman, Lauren Chatigny and Martha Thomas came up with run-scoring hits at the right times as OC won 4-0 and 3-0 over the Hillcats at Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza.
OC (22-11, 7-4 Heartland Conference) has won nine straight games, the Lady Eagles’ longest winning streak since a 13-game run in 2011. OC will look for its second straight conference series sweep on Saturday, when it hosts the Hillcats at noon in what will be the official “grand opening” for the Lady Eagles’ new $3.9 million softball complex.
“Our pitching has been outstanding,” OC pitching coach Steve Gault said. “We’re getting pitching from four different girls and they’ve all had big, big games for us against conference competition. And hitting – we have been hitting the ball really, really well. We have spent a lot of time over the last three weeks practicing just hitting the ball and we’re doing a great job of it. We just have to continue.”
Coats (11-2) threw a three-hitter and struck out 10 while walking only one in the opener, outdueling Rogers State’s Yolanda Rios (7-15), who allowed six hits and also went the distance. Only one Rogers State runner advanced as far as second base against Coats, a performance Gault called “outstanding.”
OC took a 2-0 lead on Rogers State (10-23, 4-10) in the first inning of the opener on just one basehit – a RBI infield single by Davidson – as Rios walked three batters. The Lady Eagles also executed a textbook double steal to score their second run, with Davidson taking second base and Thomas stealing home.
Thomas – who extended her streak of consecutive plate appearances during which she reached base to 11 – singled in the fifth and Davidson followed with a hard line drive that just cleared the left-field wall. The two-run shot, her second homer of the season, put OC up 4-0.
“She hit that so much on a line, I thought it was going to hit the wall,” OC assistant coach Jessica Ruckman said. “I was telling her to go (to second base), then we looked up and it was just a straight shot over the wall. She had an outstanding day hitting.”
Mosher (6-4) also threw a complete-game three-hitter, but without the aid of a strikeout, as she relied on her teammates to make defensive plays. The Hillcats had just one baserunner reach third base, that in the seventh inning, when Mosher coaxed three straight popups to escape a two-on, nobody-out jam.
“Taylor pitched a very economical game,” Gault said.
In the second inning, OC’s Monique Elliott reached second base when Rogers State left fielder Jackie Flores dropped a fly ball and later scored on a two-out single by Pittman against Brooklyne Harbert (3-8).
Mosher and OC rode that lead until the fifth, when the Lady Eagles added a pair of insurance runs. Pinch-hitter Jordan Chism singled to lead off and Sarah Endres – running for Chism – scored on a ground-rule double to right field by Chatigny. With two outs, Thomas sent a blast to center field turned into a triple and brought home Chatigny to make it 3-0.
“We kind of felt maybe that one (Thomas’ shot) was going over, too,” Ruckman said. “We had quite a few deep balls and we were able to score people when it counted, when we got runners on. We were able to hit the ball deep and hit the ball to the right side to score those runners.”
The consecutive shutouts were the first recorded by OC since the Lady Eagles beat St. Mary’s (Kan.) 7-0 and Mid-America Christian 5-0 on March 10 and March 13 in 2012.