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Softball Shuts Down Utah, 4-1
March 15, 2006

FULLERTON, Calif. Winning its first game in the Judi Garman Classic, the No. 14 Oklahoma softball team extended its winning streak to seven games with a 4-1 victory over Utah in Fullerton, Calif.  Oklahoma pushed its overall record to 21-6-1 while Utah fell to 13-7 on the season.

“I thought our girls did a great job of hanging in there and fighting tonight,” head coach Patty Gasso said.  “Norrelle Dickson does a great job of sparking this offense in the lead off spot while Kristin Vesely is back into her same groove she was last year.  I will also give credit to Utah because they did a good job of limiting us offensively.

Freshman hurler D.J. Mathis, who owns a team-leading 1.75 ERA, allowed only three hits and one earned run en route to her sixth win of the season, a staff best, and her fourth complete game of the year. 

Box Score

“I thought D.J. had complete control of the game,” Gasso said.  “She keeps getting better and better every outing.  She’s done a nice job of keeping the ball on the ground so our defense can make plays.  Our defense has done a great job of behind pitchers this season.”

Mathis held the shut out through six and two-thirds innings until Utah’s Sharee Fonoti sent a solo home run soaring over the left field fence in the bottom of the seventh.  However, Mathis retired the final batter and earned the win for the Sooners.

Norrelle Dickson and Kristin Vesely, both selections to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List, were  once again the offensive catalysts for the Sooners.  Dickson, the lead off batter, finished with a perfect 4-for-4 outing, including a triple, to extend her hitting streak to seven games.  Dickson owns a team-best .505 average through 28 games this season.

Vesely went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and pushed her batting average to .500 on the season while pushing her hitting streak to five games.  Junior Mariee Mena also added the other two runs with a two RBI double.

After Utah held Oklahoma scoreless through three, the Sooners got rolling in the top of the fourth with a leadoff single by Vesely followed by a Samantha Ricketts’ single to right field.  With two runners on base, Mena’s hard-hit double to center field scored Vesely and Ricketts to give the Sooners a 2-0 advantage.

OU continued its rally in the top of the fifth with her third hit of the day, a triple to deep center field, to lead off the inning and spark the Sooner offense.  Vesely responded with an RBI double down the left field line to score Dickson and bring the Sooner lead to 3-0.

Oklahoma scored its final run in the bottom of the seventh as Dickson hammered a single to left field and advanced to third after a stolen base and wild pitch, respectively.  Vesely’s single through the middle of the infield scored Dickson and gave OU the 4-0 advantage.

The Sooners resume tournament action on Thursday, as Oklahoma will face No. 7 Alabama  at 3:30 p.m. (CST) and round out pool play with a 3:30 p.m. game against No. 25 Fresno State on Friday.  Live stats of the Judi Garman Classic will be available on SoonerSports.com.

The tournament portion of the Classic will begin on Saturday and last through Sunday.  OU’s opponents will be determined on its record in pool play.

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