No. 1 Rogers State softball (12-1) took care of business with a sweep of Northwestern Oklahoma State (1-10) in the mid-week doubleheader on Tuesday.

The Hillcats started the day off hot as they exploded for all seven runs in the first inning. Nicole Price earned a 3-1 walk with one out to get things started. Abbey Rogers brought her home with a single to right center with two outs. Bridgett Morales singled to through the left side of the infield to put runners at first and second. MaKayla Jackson took a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Marissa Smith singled to the shortstop to plate Rogers. On a 2-0 count, Jaylan Gibson unloaded on a line drive grad slam over the left center field wall. Paxton Donaldson followed that up with a double to left. A throwing error by the third baseman allowed Donaldson to cross home for the final run of the frame.

From there, the game devolved into a classic pitcher’s duel with the pitching staffs scattering a combined four hits in the final six innings. In the bottom of the fourth though, the Hillcats had a chance to end the game early with a run-rule win with runs on first and second with two outs but couldn’t bring them in, and has another chance in the bottom of the sixth as Morales was thrown out at the plate on a Gibson fielder’s choice with one out.

Sara Llamas-Howell (5-0) earned the win with an incredible 5.0 innings of work only allowing one hit with seven strikeouts and two walks. Courtney Hill was also outstanding working 2.0 innings out of the bullpen for the combined shutout, also only allowing one hit with three strikeouts. Ireland Caro (1-3) took the loss.

In the second game of the day, RSU started on fire again with four runs in the opening frame. Chelsea Spain open the game with a double to right center. Lana Gass and Abbey Rogers earned back-to-back full count walks to load the bases with one out. A Bridgett Morales sacrifice fly to center scored Spain. On the first pitch she saw, Jaylan Gibson again went yard with a no-doubter down the left field line to clear the bases.

RSU added another run in the second to go up 5-0. Spain singled up the middle and then stole second with two outs. Nicole Price brought her in with a single down the right field line.
The Hillcats tacked on another run in the third to push out to 6-0 as Morales led off the inning with a 2-0 blast over the center field wall.

RSU pushed across one final run in the fifth extending the lead to 7-0. Morales singled to center to start and then Gibson followed it up with a double to left to put runners in scoring position. Callie Yellin plated Morales with a sacrifice fly to right.

In the top of the seventh, the Riders finally got on the board with a run to cut the deficit to 7-1. The run scored on a RBI single up the middle.

Jade Sanders (4-0) earned the win carrying a no-hitter through 3.2 innings and finished 4.0 shutout innings in the circle, only allowing one hit with four strikeouts and a walk. Kaci Phelps put in some good work out of the bullpen scattering seven hits over 2.1 innings allowing the only run with two strikeouts, with Sara Llamas-Howell coming in to clean up the final two outs in the seventh. Hannah Howell (0-3) took the loss.

The Hillcats will take the weekend off to rest and prepare before traveling on Thursday, March 2 to Clermont, Fla. to compete in the prestigious Spring Games, where they will face off against six teams in three days. They open the tournament against California (PA) at 10:30 a.m. CT on Thursday.

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