Oklahoma All-American shortstop Grace Lyons recently returned after missing seven games because of an illness, and she’s hit the ground running. Last weekend, in her second since coming back, Lyons earned Big 12 Player of the Week for an explosive showing at Iowa State.
The Peoria, Ariz., product hit .625 with a pair of home runs and four runs batted in. Lyons totaled 11 bases and four runs scored on the weekend, clubbing homers in back-to-back games in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep and leading the league in both on-base (.667) and slugging percentage (1.375).
“It feels back to normal, I would say,” Lyons said. “I know when you take time off, obviously it takes a little bit to get back. But, you know, if you’re doing your job when you’re taking rest or out, then you’re making sure that you’re scouting pitchers, you’re thinking about game plans and things like that, which I think is one of the hardest things to do offensively.
“So, then once you get your swing going, it’s kind of just riding a bike. But it’s fun to be back and just the energy and getting vocal again, I think I’m excited for this [Texas] series, especially because it’s kind of leading up into that. So yeah, I feel good.”
Perhaps Lyons was able to relax and settle back in so easily because of her teammates picking up the slack when she was out.
“Honestly, I think this team is probably the most universal, I would say, just with people, literally everyone being able to play everywhere and at any moment,” Lyons said. “I know Coach [Patty Gasso] says that a lot, that she feels comfortable with anyone out there. So, it’s cool to see young ones, but also even veterans who are playing positions maybe that they haven’t in the past. But doing it confidently and humbly, being able to do that for the team, that’s definitely something that makes our team super unique because people aren’t complaining about the positions that they’re in. They’re just taking it, owning their roles. If it is in the dugout, they’re owning that role.
“But it’s cool to see young ones step up. And even if it’s late in the game, they get their opportunities and they’re doing everything they can to knock the ball down, see pitches, have good at bats. That’s all you can ask of them.”
Lyons and the top-ranked Sooners will bring their nation-long 22-game winning streak to the table against the 10th-ranked Longhorns. First pitch in the best-of-three set is set for 6 p.m. CT at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. Games two and three will then shift to Marita Hynes Field in Norman, with first pitch set for 11 a.m. CT Saturday and the same time Sunday.