Clarksville, Ark.-East Texas Baptist University (27-11, 19-5) took four American Southwest Conference games from the U of O Lady Eagles (17-21, 7-17) softball team over the weekend.
The Lady Eagles ran into a hot hitting ETBU squad that pounded out 17 hits in the first game and ended the game with a 15-2 loss. Lady Tigers pitcher Kristen Abernathy pitched a one hit shutout to complicate things for Ozarks. Ozarks trailed 6-3 after three innings of play and faced a 15-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning. Devon Bottoms recorded the team’s hit and pitcher Amanda Luney (9-10) received the loss. In the second game, Ozarks would rally for two runs in the bottom of the seventh after Bottoms and Shannon Rainbolt knocked in one run each. The Lady Eagles had six hits in the game with Rainbolt recording two. Pitcher Brandi Blake (8-11) received the loss after allowing seven hits. The Lady Eagles had a rough start to the first game April 26, giving up six runs on five hits in the first inning. Ozarks would surrender five more runs in the second inning and eventually face a 13-0 deficit after three innings of play. Ozarks would score one run in both the fourth and fifth innings. Kelly Bennett recorded an RBI double in the fourth and Aime Jondro would record an RBI when Bottoms crossed the plate in the fifth. The Lady Eagles collected five hits in the game while the Lady Tigers tallied 18 hits. Luney received the loss. Ozarks again faced an up hill battle in the final game of the series after ETBU took a 3-0 lead at the end of the fourth inning. The Lady Eagles threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth when Ozarks collected two hits. The Lady Eagles again reached base in the fifth when Sarah Fielder led off the inning with a double to left field. With one out, a Rainbolt bunt advanced Fielder to third base. The Lady Eagles were unable to score after a double play ended the inning. Blake led the team with two hits. Blake received the loss. "We played a tougher schedule this season," said head coach Jon Janssen. "Even though we split in our games against NCAA II schools, it let us know we are headed in the right direction. Our side of the conference has a couple of nationally ranked teams too, and they gave us strong competition. I felt like Shannon Rainbolt really stepped up time and time again this year. Brandi Blake also came through both on the mound and at the plate." The Lady Eagles will lose just one senior from this year’s team and return numerous key players for next season. "Losing Leigh at third base is definitely factor for us," said Janssen. "Next season we will have a lot of experience returning that we can count on and I look to them step it up another notch now that they have been through two seasons. Our hitting dropped off this season because our players really didn’t see the same pitches as they saw last year. Last year, with several of the girls being freshmen, no one really knew a lot about us. I felt like our lack of speed on the bags didn’t put much pressure on the defense or the opposing pitchers, and that forced our batters into difficult situations."