April 13, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. – The 15th-ranked University of Oklahoma softball team got an impressive performance from sophomore pitcher Keilani Ricketts as the Sooners (33-11, 6-3 Big 12) downed 19th-ranked Oklahoma State 5-1 Wednesday evening.
OU scored its five runs on three home runs – two-run shots from Ricketts and Brittany Williams and a solo shot from Jessica Shults to win its 14th straight over the Cowgirls (32-10, 3-4 Big 12) in Norman. Ricketts became the second Big 12 pitcher to win 20 games this season, moving to 20-7 on the year with the win.
“Keilani was just in the zone tonight,” said Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso. “She was very dominating in the circle. It seemed like she was ahead in the count a lot and that makes it really tough on batters.”
Ricketts held the Cowgirls to one run on three hits and two walks. She struck out 11 to move her career total to 636 and jump past Jennifer Stewart for third on the Oklahoma career strikeouts list.
Williams drew her 42nd walk of the year with one out in the second and Ricketts sent the second pitch she saw past the right field wall to give OU an early 2-0 lead. Haley Nix led off the fourth with a walk and came around on Williams’ 11th home run of the year as OU led 4-0.
The Sooners added the final run with a solo shot by Shults in the fifth. The blast was her 19th of the year, tying her for the national lead and bringing her one shy of the Oklahoma single season record.
Oklahoma State scored its only run in the top of the sixth. Mariah Gearhart walked to lead off the inning and advanced on a single by Ari Morrison and a groundout by Alysia Hamilton. Gearhart then scored on a groundout by Chelsea Garcia to end the shutout bid.
Tamara Brown led the Cowgirls, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Morrison’s sixth-inning single was the only other hit registered by OSU. Starter Kat Espinosa (16-5) pitched 3.0 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks. Sarah Odom threw the final 3.0 innings for OSU, holding OU to one earned run on three hits.
Ricketts went 2-for-2 with a walk. She scored one run and drove in two on the home run. Williams’ only hit of the night was the two-run home run. Shults’ 1-for-3 performance was highlighted by her solo shot.
“This team stepped up big time tonight,” said Gasso. “It shows you what they’re capable of doing.”
The Sooners continue a stretch of five straight against ranked opponents at 14th-ranked Missouri this weekend. Saturday’s game is at 3:30 p.m. CT and airs regionally on FSN. Sunday’s series finale is at 3 p.m. CT and airs nationally on ESPN.