NORMAN, Okla. The No. 14 Oklahoma softball team finished the OU/Worth Invitational with a perfect 4-0 record after taking a 10-5 victory over North Texas in its second game of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at the OU Softball Complex. The Sooners pushed their record to 20-6-1 and extended their winning streak to six games.
North Texas fell to 11-12 on the year and went 2-2 at the Invitational while Utah Valley State dropped all four games at the tournament this weekend.
“I thought we swung the bats really well in this tournament,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “We have one of the toughest tests of the season coming up with the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., this week. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the tournament this week.”
The Sooners were the first to jump on the scoreboard as junior Norrelle Dickson led off the inning with a single and after stealing her 12th base of the season, she scored OU’s first run of the game on a Kristin Vesely single to center field. Freshman Samantha Ricketts added an RBI single to center field to give Oklahoma the 2-0 edge in the top of the first.
North Texas, the home team in the contest, responded with a solo home run by UNT’s Susan Waters in the bottom of the first frame to cut OU’s lead to 2-1.
Oklahoma answered in the top of the second with five more runs after Savannah Long led off the inning with an infield single and Dickson and Spaulding reached base after a hit by pitch and a walk, respectively. With the bases loaded, Vesely pounded a three RBI double to left field and the Sooners took a 5-1 lead, but they weren’t done yet.
Freshman Samantha Ricketts sent a two-run homer soaring over the right field fence that went approximately 300 feet as the rookie catcher recorded her fourth home run of the season and gave OU a 7-1 lead.
In the third, OU designated player Jamie Fox recorded her fourth home run of the year with a solo shot past center field as OU took the 8-1 advantage.
It was all UNT’s Waters in the fifth as she hammered her second home run of the game with two-run homer to deep left field to change OU’s lead to 8-3 after five innings.
OU added insurance runs in the top of the sixth after Dickson reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Amber Spaulding’s double to center field. Vesely added an RBI single to right field to score Spaulding and give OU the 10-3 advantage.
The Mean Green posted two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Sooners were able to come away with the 10-5 victory.
Freshman D.J. Mathis picked up her fifth win of the season after holding North Texas to eight hits and three earned runs. The rookie from Illinois leads the team with a 1.87 ERA. Sophomore Jadyn Smith relieved Mathis in the final inning and allowed two hits and two runs, both unearned.
The Sooners handed UNT pitcher Jessica Smith her first loss of the season as she gave up 10 runs on 10 hits through seven innings of work.
Offensively, Vesely was the Sooner leader as she recorded a career-high five RBI on a 3-for-4 outing while Ricketts added three RBI on a 3-for-3 performance.
The Sooners will hit the road for their final tournament of the regular season as they head to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., slated for March 15-19. Oklahoma will open tournament play with a 6:30 p.m. (CST) contest on Wednesday, March 15 against Utah. On Thursday, Oklahoma will face No. 7 Alabama at 3:30 p.m. and round out pool play with a 3:30 p.m. game against No. 25 Fresno State on Friday. 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.