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Lady Eagles win with a rally and a rout in sweep of Southern Nazarene

OC freshman Haley Squier threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief as the Lady Eagles rallied from a seven-run deficit to win the first game against Southern Nazarene on Tuesday.
OC freshman Haley Squier threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief as the Lady Eagles rallied from a seven-run deficit to win the first game against Southern Nazarene on Tuesday.

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 25, 2014) – In decidedly different fashions, Oklahoma Christian swept a pair of softball games from longtime archrival Southern Nazarene on Tuesday night at Tom Heath Field.

OC rallied from an 8-1 deficit to stun the Crimson Storm 9-8 in eight innings in the opener, then rode that momentum to a 12-1 romp in the second game of the nonconference doubleheader.

OC (20-11) has won seven straight games and 11 of its last 14. The Lady Eagles’ current streak is their longest since winning 13 straight games during the 2011 season.

“It builds a little character,” OC coach Tom Heath said of the first-game rally. “It does help us to know that we can do that. Sometimes … it’s good to kind of be in a position where you have to come back. We did it.”

The Lady Eagles looked sunk in the first game, trailing by seven runs after 2½ innings. SNU (11-20) had chased OC starter Shea Coats from the game and seemed to have all the momentum. But OC responded with four runs in the bottom of the third inning, a rally highlighted by RBI doubles from Niki Davidson and Courtney Starr and run-scoring singles from Monique Elliott and Kala Ratliff.

OC tied the game an inning later. Kendra Pierce led off with a double and after Martha Thomas reached on an infield single, Davidson delivered a two-run double. One out later, Lauren Pittman’s double scored Davidson and made it 8-8.

Then, all of a sudden, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel. SNU starter Kayla Wyatt (6-8), battered by the Lady Eagles in the third, returned to the circle in the fourth after reliever Ashley Potter didn’t retire any of the three batters she faced. Wyatt settled down and held the Lady Eagles in check.

Meanwhile, OC freshman Haley Squier (2-4), the Lady Eagles’ third pitcher of the game, retired 11 straight Crimson Storm batters in one stretch and didn’t allow a run in 5 2/3 innings.

“I was real proud of Haley,” Heath said. “Haley has mainly been a starter – and she is one for us – and the relief role is fairly new for her. She has really accepted that and has done a great job.”

In the eighth, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Squier didn’t allow the SNU runner on second base to advance. Lauren Chatigny began the bottom of the eighth on second base for OC and moved to third after Wyatt walked both Thomas (her fourth free pass of the game) and Davidson with one out.

Courtney Starr’s fly ball to center field proved enough to bring home the speedy Chatigny with the decisive run.

“We got off to a pretty rough start,” Heath said. “They jumped on us early and scored a few runs, but this team doesn’t quit. I knew that if we just hung in there, we would hit their pitching. It just took us a little bit of time, but they fought back and I was real proud of them for that.”

The Lady Eagles made quick work of SNU starter Andee Frazier (4-8) in the second game, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs in the first inning. Chatigny and Starr both doubled and Pittman and Ratliff each contributed a two-run single.

OC tacked on three more runs in the second, then Thomas’ fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third, made it 12-0. Thomas went 4-for-4 in the doubleheader and reached base all eight times she came to the plate.

“I don’t think they like throwing to her,” Heath said. “Sometimes they have to when there’s runners on. Moose (Thomas’ nickname) can flat hit and she did a great job for us, especially that second game.”

Taylor Mosher (5-4) pitched the first 3 1/3 innings before giving way to Coats, who finished the game for OC.

OC will host Heartland Conference rival Rogers State on Friday and Saturday. The Saturday game will be the official “grand opening” celebration of Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza, the Lady Eagles’ new $3.9 million home.