Shelby Pendley Double Threat for OU Softball

Shelby Pendley Double Threat for OU Softball

NORMAN, Okla -- When Shelby Pendley was a freshman at the University of Arizona (2011-12), there was speculation that she would finish her career as one of the great players in the history of the program. After all, she had a spectacular freshman season, batting .331 with 19 homers, and driving in 55 runs in 57 games. She played against OU that year in the Super Regional. But the following year, she was part of the OU program after transferring. Since then, she has become one of the most valuable players in the OU program. What has made her so valuable is her versatility, being able to play the infield, third and shortstop, as well as pitch. She didn't pitch at Arizona and not in her sophomore year at OU, but in the last two years, she has contributed more and more from the mound. She had a 2-1 record her junior year with four saves and an ERA of 2.08.

This year, however, Pendley has been impressive as OU coach Patty Gasso has used her more and more from the circle, either starting or in a relief role. Pendley has appeared in 17 games, started seven and compiled a 12-1 record. She was just what the doctor ordered in a recent game against North Texas. She replaced OU starter Kelsey Stevens in the third inning after the Mean Green took the lead after scoring a pair of runs. It was the first time North Texas led in the series since a 1-0 advantage in the second inning on April 18, 2012. The Mean Green hit back-to-back singles and got a walk to load the bases. OU starter Stevens hit a batter with a pitch to bring in the tying run before OU brought in Pendley.  Pendley was one out away from getting out of the jam after striking out the first batter she faced, but Danielle Hoff singled up the middle to put North Texas ahead. OU answered, however, in the bottom of the inning with three runs en route to a 6-3 win.

After giving up a leadoff single in the fourth, Pendley was on cruise control as she retired the next nine batters she faced going into the seventh.

"I just wanted to get on the mound and do what I am supposed to," Pendley said. "I wanted to create some momentum so that when we came back into the dugout we have something to feed off of."

Two of the first three batters reached base in the seventh and the Mean Green had two chances with the tying run at the plate. Pendley buckled down, though, and got Schkade and Williams to strike out to end the contest.

Pendley improved to 12-1 with the win. She struck out seven and gave up four hits, but she did not allow a run or a walk in her 4.2 innings in the circle.

"That was very important," Gasso said. "That was part of our game plan to give Paige (Parker) the night off. Shelby needed to get in a game and get some work because she is going to be very valuable, as well." Besides her pitching, Pendley is a double threat having hit 23 homers and batting around .430 for the season playing shortstop. Freshman Kacey Arnold, whose two-run homer was the difference in OU's win over the Mean Green, has been impressive at third all season, compiling a fielding percentage of 1.000. Pendley and OU slugger Lauren Chamberlain are the most potent one-two power tandem in Division I and will be counted on to lead the Sooners in the homestretch of the season as they figure to capture another Big 12 title and a berth in the Women's College World Series. Pendley is having a senior season any player would hope for and she will live up to the speculation of her being one of the great players, not for the Arizona program, but for the OU program. Arizona's loss was OU's gain and the Sooners couldn't be happier with the results.