Softball gets swept by defending national champions


Joe Franco

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s softball team has been on an adventurous road trip this season so far exploring the scenery from places like California and Atlanta, and multiple pit stops in between. One of those pit stops includes their most recent away series in Norman, Oklahoma to take on the defending national champions: No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners.

The Mavericks have had a shaky start to the year, but were beginning to show promising signs of a good squad slowly discovering its identity. After starting the season 1-4 in their first stop in Cedar Falls, Iowa, UNO had begun to gain some momentum in their last series in St. George, Utah, where they won three of their five games, including a win against No. 16 Utah.

After departing from Utah, UNO made its way down to Norman to take on No. 9 Oklahoma in a double-header on Friday.

Playing a team pitted in the top ten nationally could have been the catalyst to jumpstart the Mavericks’ rest of the season towards the winning direction. Even competing in a closely fought battle with the defending champs could’ve earned some bragging rights. The reality of it is that UNO blew a great chance to pick up some momentum after dropping both games to the Sooners.

The 15-4 Sooners eliminated any offense the Mavs implied that they brought on their road trip, and in the process, Oklahoma capitalized offensively to take two easy wins on the weekend. To put it bluntly, UNO’s 9-1 loss in the first game was its most exciting game of the series.

Omaha managed to put up one run in the game, despite being held to just two hits. Junior outfielder Kelly Pattison and junior catcher Megan May were the only two Mavericks to tally a hit. May reached home in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead on the nationally ranked Sooners. This was the highlight of the day.

Oklahoma kicked it into gear in the fourth and fifth innings to eliminate any hope and dreams Omaha had of an upset. In the fourth inning, the Sooners picked up three runs on three hits, and they carried their hitting streak into the next inning to finish out the game.

In the fifth inning, OU put on an offensive clinic by scoring six runs on six hits to seal the deal in game one. Sophomore right-hander Laura Roecker picked up the loss for UNO after giving up all nine of Oklahoma’s runs in four and two-thirds innings pitched.

The first game was a brief foretelling of what the second had to offer, only the Sooners held Omaha to zero runs this time.

The second game was all Oklahoma, as they scored early and never looked back.

The Sooners picked up one run in the first and second innings of the game, before recording six runs in the bottom of the third to solidify their 8-0 win in five innings.

Omaha was shutout and was held to just one hit courtesy of senior outfielder Lizzie Noble. Senior right-hander Abbie Clanton picked up the loss for the Mavericks after giving up all eight runs in just three innings pitched.

The Mavericks stayed in Norman and took on Illinois-Chicago following their two losses to Oklahoma.

UNO’s next road trip will be in Lawrence, Kansas on Friday through Sunday. The team will take on Kansas, Tulsa, Southeast Missouri State, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and No. 4 Louisiana State University in three days.

The trip to Lawrence will be the last one of their opening 29 away games. Omaha comes home on Tuesday, March 21 to host New Mexico State in its first home game of the season.

The rocky start can be forgotten if UNO can capitalize on a small piece of momentum and show signs of consistency. Taking on No. 4 LSU presents yet another opportunity for Omaha to find itself on the winning track. The question is, was this Oklahoma series a foreshadowing of what’s to come against their next top ten opponent?