Oklahoma City University's Jamie Rateliff tossed a perfect game to help the Stars sweep USAO 7-0, 8-6 Thursday at Bill Smith Ballpark.
Rateliff, a sophomore from Mustang, Okla., struck out four in seven innings to improve to 11-0 and notched OCU's fifth perfect game since 2002. Rateliff joins Lily LaVelle (2011), Julie Harvey (2007), Julia Hartnell (2004) and Lindsey Voss (2002) as Stars' pitchers to throw a perfect game.
The Stars, ranked No. 11 in NAIA softball, outhit the Droves 27-9 and improved to 31-7 overall and 7-1 in Sooner Athletic Conference play.
Drew Wright staked the Stars to a 2-0 lead when she singled to right-center field and plated Shelbi Legg and Tori Joyner in the top of the third inning.
In the top of the fifth, Emily Krienke doubled to center to score Wright and Magean De La Torre and give the Stars a 4-0 lead. Legg followed with a double to left center to drive in Krienke and stretch the OCU lead to 5-0.
Kyndra Holasek led off the top of the sixth with a double to left center. LeeAnn Lopez's pop fly to right advanced Holasek to third base where she scored on a USAO error to give the Stars a 6-0 advantage.
In top of the seventh, Rateliff led off with a single to center field and later scored on an error by the Drovers to give OCU a 7-0 lead.
Rateliff got three ground-ball outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the Stars the 7-0 victory and complete the perfect game. The sophomore is 11-0 with a 1.59 earned run average in the first 12 appearances of her OCU career.
"I used to pitch in high school and when I was younger," Rateliff said. "The coaches saw me as an outfielder in college and that's what I have been doing. We needed another pitcher who could her spots and throw off-speed pitches and that's where I came into play."
Krienke and Wright drove in two runs apiece to lead the Stars at the plate.
Lopez put the Stars on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. Two batters later, De La Torre singled to left center to plate Lopez and give OCU a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the second, Joyner singled and drove in a run. Later in the inning, Holasek scored on a passed ball. Lopez capped the inning with a two-run home run to left to stretch the Stars' lead to 6-0.
USAO answered with a three run bottom of the third. Chelsea Zuchnik and Brooke McLeod each provided an RBI single in the inning.
Wright singled and plated Legg in the top of the fourth to extend the OCU lead to 7-3.
The Drovers pushed three more runs across in the bottom of the fourth. Kayla Adams doubled to left and cleared the bases to cut the Stars' lead to 7-6.
Angela Lovelady led off the top of the fifth with a double to center field. Two batters later, Holasek scored Lovelady with a single to center to give OCU an 8-6 advantage.
Rateliff retired the side in the bottom of the seventh to give OCU the 8-6 victory.
Krienke tossed 3.2 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits with a strikeout to move to 2-1 on the season. Rachel Penner retired the only hitter she saw in the bottom of the fourth and Rateliff earned her first save of the season.
Lopez went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Stars at the dish.
The Stars will return to action in a 5 p.m. doubleheader against Oklahoma Baptist April 2 at Lady Bison Softball Field in Shawnee, Okla.