Brownwood, Texas-The University of the Ozarks softball team opened the season with an impressive 11-0 win over Howard Payne University and then got a clutch hit in extra innings to take game two 2-1 Friday in American Southwest Conference play.
Leading 2-0, Ozarks (2-0, 2-0 ASC) exploded for five runs in the fifth behind four hits. Krysten Shavers, Haley Hardy and Katie Ventress all drove in runs in the frame. The Eagles generated two runs in the fourth, both coming on a Ventress two-run shot. In the seventh, Ozarks plated four runs to increase its lead to 11-0. Sydney Key and Brooklyn Keeling each singled in a run and Brooke Hoffsommer recorded an RBI on a throwing error.
Hannah Oler (1-0) looked sharp in the circle throwing a complete game shutout with five strikeouts. She allowed only three hits.
In game two, Ozarks trailed 1-0 after the sixth, but Hoffsommer doubled in Key to even the game 1-1 in the seventh. Howard Payne would load the bases in the bottom of the eighth with one out, but Ventress recorded back-to-back outs to end the rally. The Eagles changed the outcome of the game by completing a two-out rally in the ninth. Kayla Gray drew a walk and Laken Gray followed with a clutch single that would push across the game-winning score. In the bottom of the ninth, Ventress retired the side to secure the double-header sweep. Both teams collected seven hits in the contest. Howard Payne is now 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the league.
Ozarks will complete its three-game series against Howard Payne tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.