NORMAN, Okla. -- History was made Saturday afternoon as Oklahoma senior Lauren Chamberlain tied the NCAA Division I all-time home run record as the No. 5 Sooners took the rubber match in its series against No. 17 Baylor 11-3 in five innings.
The record-tying blast kick-started a seven-run fourth inning for Oklahoma, blowing the game open.
Leading 3-2 in the fourth, freshman Nicole Pendley got the inning started with a leadoff single down the left field line. That brought Chamberlain to the plate. She entered the game 0-for-6 in the series but singled in the second inning to break out of the mini-slump.
Facing Baylor relief pitcher Sarah Beth Toben, Chamberlain took a called strike before letting two balls pass. Now on a 2-1 count, Chamberlain drove a pitch near the outside corner out of the stadium to put the Sooners on top 5-2.
It was No. 90 for Chamberlain in her illustrious career, tying the mark set by UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman in 2002. It took Chamberlain 206 games and 571 at-bats to reach the mark of 90, while Nuveman finished her career with 90 home runs in 264 games and 691 at-bats.
“It feels good,” Chamberlain said. “It is a little bit of a relief, and I feel a lot of weight off my shoulder. Honestly, the best feeling was meeting my teammates at home plate and seeing how excited they were for me.
“I believe me beating this record is just as much their record as it is mine, just because of the last four years and the different players I have met and the lineup I am surrounded by that make it possible for me to get those at-bats. It is just cool to share it with my teammates.”
Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said that she was pleased and relieved that Chamberlain has tied the record.
“I am really excited for Lauren because the chains are free,” Gasso said. “The chains have been cut free, and now she will have the freedom to swing. That is what this team is ready for. That is what she is ready for. It would be a tough thing on anybody, and she has handled it like a champion.”
Chamberlain finished 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.