NORMAN, Oklahoma – Senior Kellye Kincannon put the cherry on top of Northwestern State’s 8-0 run-rule win against Western Kentucky on Friday to start the Oklahoma Courtyard Marriott Tournament.
Kincannon’s two-run home run in the third inning capped the scoring as she broke the program’s career total bases mark. The Lake Jackson, Texas, native entered the game in a tie with former teammate Cassandra Barefield, but Kincannon’s home run pushed her career total to 379 bases.
“I didn’t know about that record, but I do know that we came together as a team and executed our plan,” Kincannon said. “All nine of our batters hit well and did what we wanted to do.”
In the second game, NSU (8-9-1) had the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning of a 3-0 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma.
“Even though it was a 3-0 loss, it’s hard,” Kincannon added. “We did take some quality at-bats, and we tried to have our pitchers’ back on defense.
“We do gain confidence from taking the strongest teams in the nation deep into games, and we want to take it to the next level and learn how to pull some of these games out.”
NSU 8, WKU 0 (5)
All eight NSU runs were unearned as the Lady Demons made quick work of WKU in five innings.
The Hilltoppers (9-6) committed four errors, including two in a six-run second inning that loaded the bases after an Emma Hawthorne double.
After the inning’s second error scored two runs, Kincannon and senior Brittney Jones drew RBI walks to push the lead to 4-0.
Senior Micayla Sorosiak and freshman Toni Hebert singled in NSU’s final two runs of the inning for the 6-0 edge.
The offense supported sophomore pitcher Mikayla Brown’s best outing of the season as she allowed just one hit in the five-inning shutout.
Brown (3-4) tossed her second shutout of the season, the other coming in a seven-inning win against Sam Houston State.
Western Kentucky runners reached second base just twice and never advanced to third base.
Brown struck out a career-high eight batters, which included six consecutive Hilltoppers ranging from the first inning to the third inning.
WKU’s Kara Brewer logged the Hilltopper’s only hit with a third-inning double to break up Brown’s strikeout streak.
Brown walked two and hit another batter as only four Hilltoppers reached base.
No. 9 Oklahoma 3, NSU 0
Oklahoma’s Paige Parker struck out 11 batters and allowed just one hit, but the Lady Demons had the tying runner at the plate in the seventh inning against the defending national champions.
Freshman Elise Vincent drew a one-out walk and senior Micayla Sorosiak drew a two-out walk against the two-time All-American, but Parker induced an Emma Hawthorne fly out to preserve the shutout.
Parker (5-3), who was named the Most Outstanding Player in Oklahoma’s national championship this past season, needed 120 pitches in the outing as NSU battled Parker deep into at-bats.
“Paige Parker is a stud pitcher, but we gave up way too many outs,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “We swung at a lot of pitches we didn’t want to swing at, but great pitchers can get you to do that.
“It was 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and we have to make the play to get us out of that inning. Down three runs is much different than down one run against a great pitcher, but we did have a chance to win at the end there.”
Vincent recorded NSU’s lone hit, a single in the fourth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Katelyn Boles (3-4) and the NSU defense stranded 16 Oklahoma runners, which included leaving the bases loaded in four different innings.
Boles skirted nine Oklahoma hits and nine walks to hold the Sooners to three runs (one earned).
“Our defense did make some good plays, and they played more confident after last weekend,” Pickett said. “Boles threw too many pitches, and we have to work ahead a little bit more and trust her stuff.
“She didn’t have her best stuff today, but she was trying to throw quality pitches, and we got out of some situations because she was able to scatter hits. I was glad to see us bounce back after last weekend, and the kids are buying in.”
NSU left the bases loaded in the first two innings and held OU scoreless until Sydney Romero singled in a fourth-inning run.
Boles threw a career-high 158 pitches in the outing, pushing OU hitters deep into the at-bats that ended with hits or walks.
OU led 1-0 until scoring two runs in the sixth inning. A two-out error led to Macey Hatfield scoring on a wild pitch and a Vanessa Taukeiaho RBI single.
NSU’s three-run loss is its closest result against a top-10 team in its third such game this season. The Lady Demons were tied against then-No. 1 Florida in the sixth inning in an eventual 9-3 loss.