Softball: Sooners Open Season With Win Over No. 25 DePaul

A five-run fifth inning helped No. 4/3 Oklahoma rally for a 9-2 win over No. 25/RV DePaul in the 2015 season opener at the Oceanic Time Warner Paradise Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, Thursday.

The Sooners trailed 2-1 entering the fifth and had managed just one hit off of DePaul starter Maxine Rodriguez. The Blue Demons went to the bullpen and brought in Mary Connolly for relief, but it ended up playing to OU’s advantage.

With one out, seniors Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley drew back-to-back walks before fellow senior Georgia Casey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With freshman Paige Parker batting, Connolly was called for an illegal pitch to bring home Chamberlain with the tying run.

Parker then picked up her first collegiate hit with a single back up the middle to drive home Pendley and put OU on top, 3-2. Junior transfer Tori Nirschl then made her Sooners debut when she ran pinch ran for Parker and promptly stole second base.

With two in scoring position, junior Erin Miller singled to center field and the ball was misplayed for an error by DePaul centerfielder Gena Lenti. Two runs came in to make 5-2 and two batters later, junior Whitney Ellis doubled to right center to bring home Miller and make it 6-2.

Oklahoma added three more runs in the sixth inning.

Freshman Nicole Pendley led off with a bunt single and took second when Chamberlain drew her third walk of the game. A wild pitch moved both runners up before Shelby Pendley grounded out to second base to drive home her sister, Nicole, and make it 7-2.

Junior Kady Self, playing for the first time since suffering an ACL injury on May 4 of last season, followed as a pinch hitter and didn’t miss a beat from 2014 as she hit an RBI single up the middle. Later in the frame, Self came home on a wild pitch to gets the Sooners’ ninth and final run.

Chamberlain showed no signs of rust as she homered in her first at-bat of the season to put OU on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first. She drove a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right-center for her 73rd career home run. That puts her in a tie for ninth all-time and just 18 away from breaking the all-time DI record.

MORE: OU Softball Roster | OU Softball Schedule

DePaul answered back in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead.

Gena Lenti led off with a single and reached second on a wild pitch. Kelsey Stevens came back to strike out the next two batters and got Mary Connolly to fall behind in the count. Connolly battled back to force the count full and then sent a two-run homer to center field to put the Blue Demons on top.

Shelby Pendley entered as a relief pitcher to start the fifth and worked the game’s final three innings to secure the win. She allowed just one hit and walked one while recording two strikeouts. She came on in relief of junior Kelsey Stevens who gave up two runs and five hits in four innings of work. She struck out four and walked two before leaving the game.

The Sooners return to play Friday with a pair of games. First up is a contest against St. Mary’s at 6:30 p.m. CT before facing host-Hawaii at 11 p.m. CT.

W - Pendley (1-0)3.010024
L - Connolly (0-1)1.035520
S - None------------
Individual Leaders
OU - Chamberlain131131
DPU - Connolly312201

/// SoonerSports PR

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