April 30, 2009
STILLWATER, Okla. – It was a rivalry game that could have ended any number of ways, but it turned out to be a storybook ending for Oklahoma freshman Katie Norris.
The Stillwater native returned to her hometown Thursday evening as the 10th-ranked Sooners were seeking the outright Big 12 regular season title. After recording an RBI single in the first inning, Norris left her mark – a grand slam - in the top of the seventh to lead Oklahoma (38-13, 14-4 Big 12) to a 6-0 shutout over the Cowgirls (31-19, 6-10 Big 12).
“This game had a tremendous amount of meaning for us because of a variety of reasons,” said Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso. “It was the last regular season game for our senior class, the Bedlam Bell trophy was on the line and we were playing for the outright Big 12 regular season championship.
“We came in ready to play. A small amount of anxiety cost us some at-bats early, but D.J. (Mathis) found her rhythm for us in the circle. Obviously, it was a huge night for Katie. She has five of our six runs batted in and did it in a pressure situation. She’ll remember this night for the rest of her life.”
The Sooners plated the game’s first run when Norris single to left field scored junior Amber Flores. Flores reached after being hit by a pitch and moved to second when senior Samantha Ricketts reached on an error. Oklahoma added another run in the fifth when sophomore Dani Dobbs, who reached after a walk, scored on Ricketts’ single down the right field line.
In the top of the sixth, Flores singled to left field with two outs and moved to second on a passed ball. After Ricketts walked, she and Flores advanced on a wild pitch. Junior Lindsey Vandever then walked to load the bases for the Sooners. Norris then connected on a 2-2 pitch for Oklahoma’s fifth grand slam of the season. It was Norris’ seventh home run of year.
Norris led OU, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and five runs batted in. She was also hit by a pitch once on the night. Sophomore Chana’e Jones tallied a 2-for-4 night, as well. Flores was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and Ricketts went 1-for-3 with a run scored and one driven in.
Starter D.J. Mathis settled in after a rocky start to hold the Cowgirls to two hits. The senior threw her third consecutive complete game and third shutout of the season. Mathis walked three and struck out five to move to 16-4 on the year and 9-2 in conference play.
The Sooners wrapped up the outright Big 12 regular season title with the win and will be the top seed in next week’s Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City. While OU has the weekend off, a number of conference teams are in action and those games will decide who the Sooners will face on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT on the stadium field at ASA Hall of Fame stadium.
Oklahoma will honor the 2009 senior class Friday night with a fan fest at the OU Softball Complex. Free food and drinks are available beginning at 6 p.m. CT and the Sooners’ will recognize Mathis, Ricketts and Jeannie Douglas before the event continues with games.