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NORTHWESTERN AND USAO SPLIT; RANGERS HEADED TO SAC TOURNAMENTCHICKASHA, Okla. – The Northwestern softball team solidified itself a spot in the 2010 Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament after splitting with USAO in Chickasha on Thursday. The Rangers and Drovers battled it out for nine innings in game one, with the Rangers taking a 4-2 win, before falling 6-2 in the nightcap. The split will assure the Rangers at least the sixth seed in the six-team conference tournament.

Stephanie Hines’ double to right field scored Katie Glenn, who walked and stole second base, giving Northwestern a 1-0 lead in the opener. USAO tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo run.

Both teams scored a single run in the seventh inning to force extra innings.

In the ninth inning, Glenn advanced to third on Christina Mueller’s foul out and was followed by Kyrie McKee’s pinch hit walk. McKee stole second base to put runners on second and third. Ashley Lovelady’s two RBI single to center field proved to be the game winner, as Northwestern got a strikeout, threw a runner out at third and at home to record the 4-2 win.

Jacey Juden (18-14) threw all nine innings in the circle, fanning 11 batters. She allowed two runs and scattered five hits, while facing 34 batters.

Northwestern out hit the Drovers 8-5, while Lovelady and Beeler had five of the eight hits. Lovelady finished 3-for-5 with two runs batted in, while Beeler was 2-for-5 with a double.

USAO tripled the Rangers hitting output in the second game, tallying 12 hits, while the Rangers had four hits. The Drovers used four runs in the fourth inning to take the 6-2 win.

Four different Rangers had hits, while Renea Tarwater (4-9) was handed the loss.

Northwestern (25-25, 16-20) will begin play in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament held at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on Thursday, May 6. The tournament concludes on Saturday, May 8. More information will be released as soon as all SAC teams finish conference play to determine seeds.