Lady Eagles softball team improves over spring break

The Lady Eagles softball team continues through their season. Photo by Jenny Rigney.

The Lady Eagles softball team continues through their season. Photo by Jenny Rigney.

For the first time since 2014, the Oklahoma Christian University softball team recorded an 11-game winning streak leading into spring break play. The Lady Eagles returned from Spring Break to hold a record of 8-3 over their last 11 games and are currently ranked first in the Heartland Conference standings.

The first of those victories came against Eastern New Mexico University, where the Lady Eagles swept the Greyhounds in a non-conference doubleheader, taking the first game March 7 in Portales, NM.

Sophomore Madison Hagood (7-4) struck out five batters on the mound for the Lady Eagles, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in five innings and being replaced by junior Madison Nordyke for the final two innings. Nordyke added three strikeouts.

In the top of the first inning, junior Sheridan Bond and sophomore Kaylie Upton both hit home runs to put the Lady Eagles up 4-0. The Lady Eagles added two more runs in the fourth on singles by Bond and sophomore Bridget White. Freshman Caitlin Young singled to center field in the top of the sixth inning to score sophomore Kayla Eichler, giving the Lady Eagles a 7-3 victory.

In the second game of the doubleheader against the Greyhounds, Oklahoma Christian pulled away in the last two innings for a 12-7 win and series sweep.

Despite falling behind 0-1 after the first inning, the Lady Eagles had back-to-back three-run innings in the third and fourth, before adding two in the sixth and four in the seventh inning. Squire hit her first home run of the season in the fourth to put Oklahoma Christian up 6-1.

In the fifth, Eastern New Mexico took back the lead with a five-run inning, but doubles by Bond and Squier allowed the Lady Eagles to take back control of the game. Sophomore Bridget White hit her fourth home run of the season during the top of the seventh inning to help put the game away.

Nordyke started the first four innings and returned in the seventh to close for the Lady Eagles, but Upton (3-0) picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Eagles, throwing 1.2 innings. Nordyke allowed five hits in her five innings and struck out five.

Opening Heartland Conference play against Oklahoma Panhandle State University, the Lady Eagles finished all three of the series games by run-rule.

During the series opener, Hagood allowed only three hits by the Aggies. She struck out nine batters and allowed only one run, a solo home run in the fourth inning, which was the only score for Panhandle State.

Nordyke brought in five runs for the Lady Eagles, with three coming from a home run in the fifth inning. Senior Niki Davidson singled later in the same inning to push the lead up to eight which ended the game in the Lady Eagle’s favor, 9-1.

“I feel the team is much more cohesive now than it was at the beginning of the year,” Davidson said. “We have a lot of good team chemistry and that has helped us with a lot of our success.”

During the second game against the Aggies, Nordyke did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, striking out three in a 10-0 Oklahoma Christian victory.

The Lady Eagles scored in all four of the innings during the run-rule shortened game. Squier led the team with four RBIs, going 3-4 at the plate. Bond, sophomore Kayla Eichler and freshman Caitlin Young all had two hits apiece.

In the final game of the series, Oklahoma Christian take the win in a 10-1 ballgame, with nine of those runs coming in the first two innings.

Upton allowed only three hits the entire game and only a single score in the fourth. She also hit a home run in the opening inning to account for three of the four runs to start the game.

Nordyke went 3-4 at the plate, while Eichler and Davidson both added two RBIs.

Following her performance against Panhandle State, Squier was named the Heartland Conference hitter of the week. She totaled nine RBIs, two doubles and a home run in the Lady Eagles’ 5-0 week against Eastern New Mexico and Panhandle State.

Entering non-conference spring break play, the Lady Eagles traveled to Kingsville, TX to face Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Oklahoma Christian continued their winning streak with a doubleheader sweep against the Javelinas.

In the opening game, Hagood pitched all eight innings, striking out nine batters. Bond contributed both runs for the Lady Eagles as they scored late in extra innings using the international tiebreaker to win the game 2-1.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Upton hit her first career grand slam to cap a seventh inning where the Lady Eagles scored five times. Upton had a total of four RBIs to lead the team in a game where all but one player had a hit for Oklahoma Christian.

Nordyke pitched four innings and had two strike outs, before being relieved by Upton who pitched a final inning and managed a strikeout. Hagood relieved her her for the final inning to finish out the game.

The Lady Eagles continued non-conference play by traveling to Angelo State University on March 16 to face the then number two team in the nation in a doubleheader. Angelo State snapped Oklahoma Christian’s 11-game win streak, losing their first series since February.

Upton allowed only two hits in five innings during the first game of the doubleheader, but one of those was a home run in the fourth, which gave the Rambelles the only runs scored by either team in the game as Oklahoma Christian fell 2-0 in the opener.

During the second game, Hagood pitched all six innings for the Lady Eagles, striking out three and allowing three runs as the Lady Eagles lost 3-0. Oklahoma Christian only had one hit the entire game on 21 at-bats and were struck out six times by the opposing pitcher.

Despite the loss, Hagood earned Heartland Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season. She leads the Heartland conference with 77 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.78.

The Lady Eagles split with Texas Woman’s University 1-1, on Tuesday, in a home non-conference doubleheader.

The Pioneers took an early lead during the first game, scoring three times in the first two innings as the Lady Eagles fell 6-1. Hagood and Nordyke both pitched three innings and combined for four strike outs, allowing 10 hits and six runs. The Lady Eagles scored once on a hit from Davidson, who brought Bond in for the run.

Bond and Nordyke combined for five of Oklahoma Christian’s 11 runs as the Lady Eagles took the second game 11-3 in a rule-rule against the Pioneers. Bond also brought in two other runners.

In the final two innings of play, the Lady Eagles posted seven runs on the board to finish the game. Upton pitched the first three innings and was later relieved by Nordyke for the final two.

“Going forward, we need to put all of our skills together,” Davidson said. “Offensively and defensively being aggressive and working hard will be our best assets moving forward.”

The Lady Eagles will resume conference play against Texas A&M International University today and tomorrow. First pitch is at noon in Laredo, TX.

Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.

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