Ricketts Fans 16 in Shutout of No. 1 Cal
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Even by her standards, Keilani Ricketts was good Friday night.
Ricketts was sensational -- not a surprise -- again, but this time it came against the top team in the country, on the biggest stage, in front of the largest crowd.
And when it mattered most.
Oklahoma beat Cal 3-0 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium thanks to a left arm for which the Golden Bears had no answer.
In a season where she's already been named the National Player of the Year, Ricketts somehow didn't just live up to the hype, she surpassed it.
Ricketts struck out 16, matching a season best, a day after setting the Oklahoma's Women's College World Series team record of 11. In addition, Ricketts extended her streak to 39 innings without allowing an earned run.
All that was more than enough to send OU to another win leaving them just one away from playing for the championship. The Sooners will play again at noon Sunday.
"What we've figured out was let's just get here and take this as far as we can go," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "We're really focusing on one game at a time. Now, tomorrow we can sit back and relax and we can go back to planning for whoever it is we have to face. We're taking it one pitch and game at a time and enjoying every minute of it."
Cal managed just a pair of hits off Ricketts, while the Sooners were able to put together single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings -- the last coming on Georgia Casey's 10th home run of the year.
"She has gone to another level," Gasso said of Ricketts. "Just knows how to get locked in like never before, and I've seen her step up in clutch situations. She's been doing that over and over. It's been an absolute pleasure to watch."
The only trouble Ricketts and the Sooners got in was in the sixth inning when Cal had the tying run at the plate with only one out after an error and an intentional walk. But Ricketts rallied by striking out the next two batters.
"This was one of our best games because we were hitting well and playing defense great," Ricketts said.
In a year where Ricketts has dominated, the OU hitters continued their trend, too. One of the top power teams in the country, the No. 4-ranked Sooners continue to lead the nation with 97 home runs. And now, thanks to Casey, they have four players with 10 or more roundtrippers this season.
Ricketts drove in one, earning a bases loaded walk in the fourth inning. Lauren Chamberlain didn't homer, but she drove in a run with a double in the third inning and Casey accounted for the third run.
Ricketts improved to 35-7 on the season. She walked two and hit a batter. Cal's Jolene Henderson took the loss, allowing five hits, two earned runs and walking four. Henderson fell to 37-3.