Oklahoma senior Lauren Chamberlain has set the NCAA Division I softball homer record.
ESPN is reporting that Chamberlain clouted her record-breaking 91st home run, a grand slam, in the fourth inning off of North Texas pitcher Kenzie Grimes to give the Sooners a 4-2 lead. The Sooners won the game, 6-2.
Chamberlain sets the new softball homer record, breaking the old record held by former UCLA star Stacey Nuveman back in 2002.
“I think the pressure of it along the way and the highs and lows, especially the lows, have made this moment so much sweeter. I think I’m able to celebrate now and kind of breathe a little bit and just relax and play softball,” Chamberlain said. Now that she has set the softball homer record, Chamberlain can relax, but just a bit.
“The eyes are off a little bit, and I can just go back to playing the game. I’ve been trying to do that along the way, but it gets tough. I’m excited and I know my teammates are excited to just see me back as a hitter,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain credits her teammates for her setting the softball homer record. She said, “They’ve been making me feel so good throughout this whole process, and they’ve been there for me. They’ve hyped it down just a little bit to keep me level, which is outstanding, and I appreciate them so much for that because I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without them.”
According to NCAA.com, Chamberlain has hit six grand slams in her career. This one that set the softball homer record was her 19th of the season. Chamberlain hit the 91 homers in 212 games, in her 584th at-bat. When Nuveman broke the softball homer record, it took her 264 games and 691 at-bats.
It still hasn’t fully sunk in that she now owns the softball homer record.
“I don’t think it’s going to set in for a while, but I think when I take the jersey off for the last time and think back on those moments I’ll realize what just happened,” she said. “Right now it’s so easy and nice to focus on my team and focus on celebrating with them.”
The Toluca Lake, California, native and communications major, was one of three finalists for 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She was named to the 2012 and 2013 WCWS All-Tournament Team, is a three-time NFCA All-American (2014 – Third Team, 2012-13 First Team), a three-time first-team All-Region, and a two-time All-Big 12 First Team. Chamberlain was named 2012 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and is a five-time Big 12 Player of the Week.
[Image courtesy of Wibika]