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Pierce, Coats give OC 2nd straight sweep of Heartland weekly softball awards

Kendra Pierce (2, head down) is congratulated at home plate by her teammates -- including pitcher Shea Coats (21) -- after hitting one of her two home runs against Texas A&M International on Friday. Pierce and Coats gave OC a sweep of the weekly Heartland Conference awards.
Kendra Pierce (2, head down) is congratulated at home plate by her teammates -- including pitcher Shea Coats (21) -- after hitting one of her two home runs against Texas A&M International on Friday. Pierce and Coats gave OC a sweep of the weekly Heartland Conference awards.

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 28, 2014) – At the right time of the season, Oklahoma Christian’s softball team appears to be peaking, something borne out Monday with the latest set of Heartland Conference weekly awards.

For the second straight week, OC swept the honors, with shortstop Kendra Pierce taking the NCAA Division II league’s hitter of the week award, while Shea Coats was named as the Heartland’s pitcher of the week for the third straight time.

Before last Monday, when Coats and catcher Niki Davidson won the awards, no Heartland school had swept the weekly honors. Now the Lady Eagles have done it twice in succession.

OC (35-14, 17-6 Heartland) closed its regular season last week with a three-game sweep of league rival Texas A&M International and Coats played a key role in each of the games, winning two and saving one.

The freshman right-hander from Tuttle threw a complete-game two-hitter in an 8-1 win in the series opener – extending her scoreless-innings streak to 30 before TAMIU scored in the fourth inning – and tied her season high with 14 strikeouts.

In the second game, Coats came on in the seventh inning to record her sixth save of the season in a 15-12 win, breaking OC's single-season record for saves and tying the program's career mark. In the series finale, she threw her fifth shutout in her last six starts (and her ninth of the season), fanning 10 batters in a 2-0 win.

She has recorded 18 straight wins after a 2-2 start and has allowed one run in her last 42 innings of work. Coats is one of only two pitchers to receive the Heartland’s pitcher-of-the-week honor more than once this season.

Pierce, a junior from Oklahoma City who starred at Westmoore High School, hit .600 (6-for-10) and had at least one RBI in every game against TAMIU. All but one of her six hits in the series went for extra bases, giving her a gaudy 1.500 slugging percentage, and she also posted a .636 on-base percentage.

She hit two solo home runs in the series opener, then had a pair of doubles and three RBIs in the wild 15-12 win. In the finale, she had OC's only RBI with a fourth-inning double. She also was productive on the basepaths, scoring six runs. With her successful week, Pierce raised her batting average from .306 to .328.

It was the second Heartland hitter-of-the-week honor for Pierce, who also won the award during the opening week of the 2013 season.

This season, OC players have received conference honors seven times. In addition to Pierce and Coats, Davidson (twice) and Martha Thomas have been named as the league’s hitter of the week.