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Golden Suns Sweep Four From Rangers

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Arkansas Tech University opened the Great American Conference portion of its 2017 softball schedule by sweeping a four-game series from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla., on Friday and Saturday.

The Golden Suns (10-6 overall, 4-0 GAC) will play their first home games of the season when they host Ouachita Baptist University for a four-game set at the Chartwells Women's Sports Complex in Russellville on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4.

First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. Live coverage will be available at

Game One: Tech 4, NWOSU 2

Arkansas Tech starting pitcher Cara Tolar held Northwestern Oklahoma State without a hit for the first six innings and the Golden Suns held on for a 4-2 win in the series opener on Friday.

Tolar (1-0) struck out four Rangers and carried a 4-0 lead to the seventh inning. She saw her no-hit bid come to an end on a run-scoring triple by Northwestern Oklahoma State's Madison McGraw with no one out in the bottom of the seventh.

Morgan Vaughan came out of the ATU bullpen to get the final three outs for her fourth save of 2017.

Megan Goodnight had two runs batted in for the Golden Suns, while Tolar and Jalissa Gum added one RBI apiece.

NWOSU starting pitcher Madison Garza (1-4) was charged with four runs, two of which were earned, on 10 hits in six innings.

Game Two: Tech 5, NWOSU 1

Gum pitched a complete game and became Arkansas Tech University's all-time leader in strikeouts during a 5-1 Golden Suns' victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State on Friday.

Ten strikeouts over seven innings put Gum at 365 career strikeouts, surpassing the 363 strikeouts recorded by Casey Hammons while pitching at Arkansas Tech from 2007-09.

Gum (2-3) limited the Rangers to one unearned run on four hits.

Sydnie Henson drove in two runs for the Golden Suns. Gum, Sarah Coronado and Sarah LaChance each had one RBI.

Karly Murray (1-6) started in the circle for Northwestern Oklahoma State and allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits over six innings.

Game Three: Tech 6, NWOSU 0 

Arkansas Tech made it three wins in a row over Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday with a 6-0 victory behind a dominating pitching performance by Gum.

The senior from Red Rock, Okla., pitched a one-hit shutout and struck out 16 Rangers. The 16 strikeouts matched Gum's career high and tied the second-most in a game in Golden Suns' history.

Amber Mills had Northwestern Oklahoma State's only hit on a sixth-inning single.

Bailey Shaffer notched two RBIs for Arkansas Tech. Henson, Ashton Sangster and Goodnight all drove in one run.

Ranger starting pitcher Garza (1-5) took the loss. She went six and two-thirds innings and allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on 10 hits.

Game Four: Tech 12, NWOSU 5

Seven runs in the top of the fifth inning helped Arkansas Tech come from behind to defeat Northwestern Oklahoma State 12-5 in the series finale on Saturday.

Shaffer put the Golden Suns in front to stay at 6-5 with a two-run single in the top of the fifth. Janie Knowles followed with an RBI single to make it 7-5.

A pair of Ranger errors helped Tech added four more runs in the frame. Tolar and Gum had one RBI apiece along the way as the Golden Suns built an 11-5 edge after five innings.

Henson's sixth-inning RBI single set what proved to be the final score.

Vaughan (4-1) pitched five scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.

NWOSU's Murray (1-7) surrendered nine runs, seven of which were earned, on 13 hits in four-plus innings.