Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

April 28, 2013

Pendley leads OU softball to run-rule victory

NORMAN — The opportunity to be one of the best in school history. A shot in the arm. The missing link.

These are some of the accolades that have been heaped on Shelby Pendley after she transferred to Oklahoma this season from Arizona. And the sophomore proved again Saturday in a 8-0 run-rule victory over Iowa State that they may not be that far-fetched.

Pendley went 3 for 4 with six RBIs on Saturday, adding her 18th home run of the season a day after blasting a grand slam on her way to five RBIs. Through two games over the Cyclones, she’s 4 for 6 with 11 RBIs and three runs scored.

“I didn’t realize it was that many,” she admitted after being told how many RBIs she put up in the last two games. “I’m just seeing the ball really well. I try not to think when I’m up there, I just see a pitch and hit it.”

It was no secret that Shelby Pendley was going to help the Sooners when she transferred in from Arizona. But even the Sooners didn’t know she would be as good as she’s been.

In her last five games, Pendley has gone 10 for 12 with 17 RBIs and keyed OU (42-3, 10-1) to victories over No. 6 Texas, North Texas and Iowa State. It’s a run that has impressed, if not surprised, coach Patty Gasso.

“It’s really enjoyable to see a player when they’re this hot,” she said. “Am I shocked? No, because she’s a workhorse at practice. She puts in the work to do this.”

What’s been most impressive to Gasso is not just the hits, but the way Pendley is getting them.

“She’s done a lot of damage with two strikes in the count, and that’s a sign of a really good hitter,” Gasso said. “And another thing a lot of people don’t talk about is that she’s a phenomenal third baseman and shortstop, and that allows us to do a lot of things with the infield.”

On Saturday, it was Pendley who both started and ended the scoring for the Sooners against Iowa State (19-28, 4-10). She opened the game with a three-run home run in the first inning to set the tone, added a two-run double in the second and doubled off the left-field wall in the fifth to bring home the game’s final run.

Pendley’s power and consistency has added another layer of firepower to an already-potent OU lineup. It’s exactly what Gasso envisioned when she recruited Pendley out of her New Mexico high school three years ago. And, while she had to drop those hopes when Pendley ultimately decided to attend Arizona, she was reminded of the possibilities a year ago when the Sooners met the Wildcats in the super regional.

So when Pendley contacted the Sooners a year ago about the possibility of transferring to OU, Gasso was ecstatic to take the call.

“I loved my team, but when an athlete like Shelby is knocking on your door you have to listen, let’s be real,” she said. “She has family members that live in Oklahoma and it’s still close enough to drive home. It’s just a good fit.”

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