Alva Review-Courier -

Pitching clutch as Lady Eagles sweep at Rogers State

 

March 30, 2018



BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (March 28, 2018) – Rogers State hadn't lost two straight games since Feb. 8-9, but that run ended for the Hillcats on Wednesday against a suddenly hot Oklahoma Christian squad.

Left-hander Madison Hagood picked up two pitching wins and her counterparts in the circle, Kaylie Upton and Madison Nordyke, were similarly clutch while leading the Lady Eagles to a doubleheader sweep, beating Rogers State 4-3 and 3-2 at Broken Arrow High School's Tiger Softball Field.

Nearing the end of a 16-game stretch on the road, OC (21-16, 11-7 Heartland Conference) has won its last five games – all in dramatic fashion – to inject itself into the league race. Tuesday's sweep moved the Lady Eagles past Lubbock Christian (Texas) into third place in the Heartland standings, just a half-game behind second-place Rogers State (26-10, 11-6).

Rogers State entered the doubleheader with a 14-2 home record, but was forced to move its home games to Broken Arrow – where there is an artificial turf playing surface, like OC's Tom Heath Field – because of heavy rain in Claremore earlier this week. OC now leads the series against the Hillcats – which dates to each program's days in the NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference – by a 23-15 count.

In the opener, OC's Kayla Eichler tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run over the left-field wall in the fourth inning, but the Hillcats took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when Katelyn Gamble and Merissa Smith both reached on infield singles and eventually scored.

Down to its last chance in the top of the seventh, OC took advantage of two Rogers State errors to take the lead. Lacey Davidson's sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Daelyn Denny and reached second base when Rogers State right fielder Megan Scott misplayed the ball.

Sheridan Fuller's RBI groundout scored Hunter Strickland to tie the game and Nordyke's single through the right side of the infield off Rogers State reliever Tailee Reding (8-3) scored Jessica Killer, who pinch-ran for Davidson.

Meanwhile, Hagood entered the game in the sixth in relief of Upton and struck out three Hillcat batters in two innings without allowing a hit.

That momentum carried into the second game, with OC scoring twice in the top of the first inning, again taking advantage of two errors as Nordyke delivered a RBI single off starter Andrea Morales (8-5) before scoring on one of those defensive miscues.

The Hillcats got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Allie McFetridge's single off Hagood (6-9) scored Smith, who had reached on an error. Both teams scored once in the fourth, with Payton Sabolski (OC) and Sierra Skaggs (Rogers State) producing run-scoring singles.

OC put a runner on third base with no outs in both the fifth and sixth innings but came away empty. Still, Hagood kept them ahead, stranding Rogers State runners at second and third base in the sixth by striking out Edie Fairchild for the final out. It was her seventh strikeout of the game.

Nordyke gave up a one-out double to Smith in the seventh, but fanned Day and Santistevan to end the game and pick up her second save.

OC will wrap up its long road stretch on Tuesday with a doubleheader at Lone Star Conference foe Cameron. The Lady Eagles will return home for a three-game Heartland series against Newman (Kan.) next Friday and Saturday.

 

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