Oklahoma's Chamberlain Wraps Up Great Softball Career

Oklahoma's Chamberlain Wraps Up Great Softball Career

It doesn't happen that often and isn't expected, but on occasion there will be a special athlete who will after her four-year career is completed will be recognized as one of the "best ever." Oklahoma senior Lauren Chamberlain certainly has that destination.

Chamberlain completed her college career in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as her Sooners lost to Alabama, 5-3, in the if necessary game Saturday of the Super Regional. Chamberlain did more than her part to keep the Sooners in the game, hitting a two-run homer and a solo homer, giving OU a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth inning.

Unfortunately, the Sooners couldn't maintain the lead and lost on a grand slam homer by Marsia Ruynon, who was hitless in 13 at bats entering the batter's box.  Her grand slam was her 19th homer of the season and one that she won't forget.

One of five seniors on the OU team, Chamberlain finished her career with a record 95 home runs and a slugging percentage of .960. The two are NCAA career records, and if she hadn't missed 25 games last year because of a leg injury, Chamberlain would have had at least 100 homers or more for her career. The two homers against Alabama was the 17th multi-homer game in her career and third in postseason.

She finished the year with a .399 batting average and that is impressive when you are considered the NCAA all-time career home run champion. Chamberlain hit 30 each her first two years before the injury slowed her down her junior year as she finished with 12 before hitting 23 this year.

Chamberlain had three hits during the Super Regional and all were home runs, but the Sooners needed additional timely hits besides Chamberlain's. Lauren was three-for-nine in the Super Regional, driving in five runs.

"I congratulate Alabama," said OU head coach Patty Gasso. “They're a great team and had a great crowd. It is very difficult to get things done here. It is what it is. Their players were clutch, and that's what it is about in the postseason - it's about being clutch. We had opportunities. Lauren (Chamberlain) stepped up big time for us as she always does. We had opportunities with bases loaded and had other opportunities. We just didn't get timely hits. They deserved it, they earned it and I congratulate them. We gave it all we had - it's all left on that field right now."

For her OU career, Chamberlain played 220 games, going to bat 607 times with 240 hits for a career BA of .399. She scored 272 runs, fifth best all-time in Division I, and drove in 254 runs, which is ninth best all-time. She had 42 doubles, eight triples and of course the 95 homers. She had 583 total bases and only struck out 92 times in those 220 games. She was a team leader in every sense of the word and as Lauren went, so did the Sooners.

She was part of a class that was the most successful in OU history, compiling a record of 211-36 (.854),winning four straight Big 12 titles, winning a national title and placing runner-up and going to three College World Series. It's a shame that there wasn't a fourth straight berth as OU and Alabama both deserved to be in the World Series.

There will be other seasons and other OU wins but Lauren Chamberlain has left a legacy that will be difficult to equal let alone surpass as she deserved the recognition as one of the "best ever" to play Division I college softball. The results speak for themselves.