DENTON, Texas Led by Nicole Denes’ three-hit shut out, the No. 15 Oklahoma softball team claimed its third victory over North Texas this season with a 7-0 win over the Mean Green at Denia Park in Denton, Texas, where the temperatures dipped into the low 40s.
Oklahoma pushed its record to 23-8-1 in its final non-conference game before Big 12 play begins. UNT fell to 11-15 on the season.
“The cold weather was concerning to us tonight, but I was glad our girls were able to set the tone early in the game,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “Nicole Denes did a great job of taking complete control of the game. I was also proud of Jessica Legendre stepping it up at the plate, offensively. This is a great way to close the book on the non-conference portion of our season and give us momentum heading into Big 12 play.”
Denes was impressive in her third complete game of the season as she allowed no runs on three hits while striking out five Mean Green batters. The senior hurler improved to 6-3 on the season with her first shut out of the year.
Oklahoma opened the first inning with two hits and three runs to take its first lead of the game. Junior third baseman Mariee Mena’s sacrifice fly to left field scored Amber Spaulding. Two batters later, Savannah Long ripped a two RBI single to left field to push the OU lead to 3-0 after the top of the first.
The Sooners opened it up in the top of the fourth after three straight hits from Nicole Denes, Jessica Legendre and an RBI single by Norrelle Dickson. Junior Kristin Vesely followed with a two RBI single to center field to extend the Sooner advantage to 6-0.
OU carried its momentum to the fifth inning after a leadoff single by Jamie Fox. Denes followed with a single to left field and scored on Legendre’s second hit of the game, an RBI single to left field, to score OU’s final run and push the lead to 7-0.
Offensively, eight Sooners in the lineup recorded a hit as Vesely led the way with a 2-for-4 performance and two RBI. Additionally, freshman Samantha Ricketts also went 2-for-4 and added her sixth double of the season. Legendre had the best outing of her career with two hits against UNT.
UNT’s Kristina Fowler took the loss for the Mean Green as she fell to 9-6 on the year. Fowler gave up seven earned runs on 11 hits.
Next, Oklahoma returns home for its conference opener against Missouri at the OU Softball Complex March 25-26. The Sooners will host the Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday followed by a 12 p.m. contest against Missouri on Sunday.