SHAWNEE – With 17 hits, 15 runs and a complete-game shutout from junior pitcher Michelle Bauer, the University of Science and Arts roll into postseason play with plenty of momentum after Tuesday’s road sweep of Oklahoma Baptist.
The Drovers rallied with seven runs in the final three innings to take game one 9-5 and cruised 6-0 in game two. The wins move USAO to 23-22 overall after winning eight of their last 10 games. The Drovers finish in a tie for fifth place with Rogers State at 12-14 in the league with the conference tournament scheduled to begin Friday.
Game one of a series has been a bur under the Drovers’ saddle having won only four all conference season. The team looked to be in danger of losing the fifth game one of the year after OBU’s Ashley Clifton homered in the third inning and sparked the Bison to a 5-2 lead.
USAO answered in the fifth when senior leadoff Laurissa Eliason tripled and scored on a single by Rosy Campos. Consecutive singles from Leslie Beaty and Caitlyn Crotty scored Campos, and two consecutive OBU errors scored Beaty, Hillary Brown and Kristi Stout. The Drovers scored insurance runs in the sixth and seventh to take game one.
While Bauer pitched her first complete-game shutout of the season in game two, she was not the whole story. Pocasset native Laci Weger hit her first home run of the season, Eliason hit her second triple of the day, and Campos and Beaty combined for three doubles.
The Drovers scored two runs in the first two innings and two in the fourth thanks to Weger’s homer and an RBI double from Beaty that scored Eliason. Another Beaty double scored two in the seventh. Beaty drove in Campos, advanced to third on an error and stole home when the cutoff man jogged the ball into the field.
With a sweep in the regular season finale, USAO awaits the release of the conference tournament bracket. The tournament will be played at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The conference tournament schedule is set for Friday and Saturday, but not all the qualifying teams have their spot on the bracket. Lubbock Christian, which has claimed to have already won the conference title, and Oklahoma Christian have yet to play their make-up series.
The series is now scheduled for Thursday – SAC tournament eve. Since the top three teams are within a half game of each other, that series could seriously affect the brackets.
Currently Oklahoma City is the leader in the clubhouse at 21-5. LCU is 20-4 and could overtake OCU with a sweep of OC, and St. Gregory’s is a game behind OCU at 20-6. An LCU split with OC would give LCU the tiebreaker over OCU.