Ricketts Leads Sooners Past Iona, 7-1
May 20, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. – Keilani Ricketts set a University of Oklahoma single game record with 19 strikeouts as the ninth-seeded Sooners (39-16) defeated Iona 7-1 Friday evening in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Softball Championship.
After breaking a 15-year-old single season strikeout record earlier this year, Ricketts broke another 15-year old record Friday evening, surpassing Brea Moore’s 18 strikeout performance against Utah on April 2, 1995. Ricketts threw a complete game, allowing the one earned run on three hits and three walks.
Five straight Sooners reached base in the bottom of the first as Destinee Martinez and Brianna Turang reached on back-to-back singles and Haley Nix walked to load the bases. Martinez scored on a Ricketts single and Brittany Williams followed with a single to left field to score Turang as OU led 2-0 after one.
The Sooners added a run in the second. The top of the order once again came through as Martinez and Turang both reached on back-to-back two-out singles. Nix’s single to left field scored Martinez to put OU in front 3-0.
Iona (31-21) answered back with a run in the top of the third after Chelsea Sheehan walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning, Eileen McCann came through with a single to right center to break the shutout. After loading the bases, Ricketts got a strikeout to end the threat.
Oklahoma responded in the bottom half of the inning. Williams reached on a leadoff single and moved to second on a groundout before coming in to score on a pop fly by Katie Norris that fell just behind second base.
After keeping the Gaels off the board in the next three innings, the Sooners tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth. Martinez and Turang reached again on back-to-back singles and another Nix single brought the advantage to 5-1. With two runners on, Ricketts doubled to left center to clear the bases and push the margin to its eventual 7-1 final score.
Iona went down fighting in the seventh. After back-to-back strikeouts, Tessa Earley reached on an error and a single from Deanne Algeo gave the Gaels two runners aboard. Jodi Peterson then reached on a passed ball to load the bases before McCann struck out to end the game.
Turang was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs, while Martinez went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. In addition to her pitching performance, Ricketts drove in three runs on her 2-for-4 night. Nix added two runs batted in for the Sooners as six of OU’s batters got hits in the game.
The Sooners advance to play Tulsa in the winner’s bracket tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT at the OU Softball Complex. A free webcast, live stats and audio of the game are available at SoonerSports.com.