OU Opens Postseason Play with 19-3 Run Rule Victory
NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 4 Oklahoma opened up 2012 postseason play Friday night with one of its most dominating postseason performances to date, run ruling Lehigh, 19-3, in five innings of action. The 19 runs were the second most ever scored by an Oklahoma team in postseason action as OU tied regional records for RBIs (19) and home runs (4) as the four home runs gave OU 89 for the season to break the previous Big 12 single season record of 88 set by Texas in 2010.
The 19 runs also matched a season high for OU who moved to 46-8 on the year while Lehigh fell to 40-18.
Oklahoma hit at least three home runs in a game for the 14th time this season as Lauren Chamberlain, Katie Norris, Keilani Ricketts and Brittany Williams all sent home runs out of the park, including a third career grand slam from Ricketts. Ricketts also had a triple and drove in six runs to tie the OU postseason record for runs batted in a game.
Ricketts also got the win for the Sooners in the circle as she threw three innings of no-hit ball while striking out seven before giving up the circle to Michelle Gascoigne and later Kirsten Allen. Ricketts moved to 29-7 on the year while Rebecca Bliss took the loss for Lehigh to fall to 19-7 on the year.
"This was a team that was very anxious to play. They just came out of the blocks and unloaded from the start," said OU Head Coach Patty Gasso. "It was really one of the most dominating performances I've seen from an OU team in every way, shape and form. I just thought the way they looked defensively and the way we were throwing the ball around. The way Keilani [Ricketts] looked on the mound, very dominating. Offensively there was not one really routine easy play that I felt or saw throughout the game. So I think what we're saying is we mean business and we want this as much as anybody out there."
The Sooners jumped out to a quick lead in the first as Destinee Martinez legged out an one-out infield single before stealing second base. Already the Big 12 single season home run record holder, Chamberlain stepped to the plate and sent her 26th home run of the season over the centerfield fence.
The Sooners exploded for 13 runs in the second inning, tying an OU postseason record for runs in an inning, as the first four OU batters reached base safely. Brianna Turang started things out with a single to second before stealing second and going home as Katie Norris hit her third home run of the season. After Javen Henson reached on an error from the Lehigh third baseman, Georgia Casey singled up the middle. A Martinez groundout to second moved Henson to third and Casey to second.
After Chamberlain was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Ricketts sent her third career grand slam over the right field fence. Jessica Shults followed the slam with a double to right field before Turang walked to put two on for Norris who connected on her second extra base hit of the inning with a double to to right to score both Turang and Shults.
Jessica Vest replaced Norris on the base path before Henson walked and Casey singled down the right field line to bring in Vest. Martinez singled to short to load the bases for Chamberlain who singled to to center to score Henson and Casey. The hit was followed by a Ricketts' triple that scored Martinez and Chamberlain to close OU's 13-run inning.
The Sooners added three more runs in the third when Turang and Erica Sampson reached base on back-to-back walks before Henson, Casey and Kelley Reeves connected on three straight singles. Henson's single up the middle scored Turang while Casey's single through the left side of the defense sent Sampson home. After Reeves' single loaded the bases, Henson scored as Allee Allen reached on a fielder's choice.
Lehigh posted three runs in the fourth Jennifer Colquhoun picked up a walk off Gascoigne and Julie Fernandez singled to center. With two runs on, Liz Lucas hit her sixth home run of the season to put three Lehigh runs on the board.
OU closed out scoring in the fourth inning when Williams led off with a solo home run over the right field fence.
The Sooners return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. when they face Tulsa, Friday night victors over Oregon State, in the winners' bracket game.