TULSA, Okla. Led by freshman pitcher D.J. Mathis’ one-hit shutout and home runs by Amber Spualding and Traci Dickenson, the No. 14 Oklahoma softball team (16-6-1) handed Tulsa (11-6) an 8-0 run-rule loss in five innings. It marked the Sooners’ first win at the Donna J. Hardesty Softball Complex since 2003.
“I was so pleased with every part of our game tonight,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “I thought Norrelle Dickson’s leadoff single to open the game really sparked this club and gave our squad energy on offense. It was a complete top to bottom performance by every girl tonight. Now, we just need to build off this momentum.”
Mathis (3-1) picked up her third win of the season with her most impressive performance of the year after giving up only one hit and no runs while striking out a career-high five batters. The lefty leads the five-member pitching staff with a 1.91 ERA.
“We really fed off D.J.’s performance tonight,” Gasso said. “It’s great for a pitcher when the offense gives her a lead and she responded by pitching a shut out. The best part of tonight’s game was seeing how our pitching staff is coming along and developing. D.J. had complete control of the game tonight.”
The Sooner offense countered with Mathis’ pitching as OU wasted no time jumping on the board after Dickson opened the game with a triple to left field and scored Oklahoma’s first run of the game on a Spaulding ground out.
The Sooners added to their advantage in the second inning after second baseman Savannah Long doubled to center field to lead off the frame. Two batters later, Dickenson pounded her second home run of the year to deep center field to give the Sooners the 3-0 lead. Long finished the game with a perfect 2-for-2 performance and two RBI.
“Savannah was exceptional tonight both offensively and defensively for us,” Gasso said. “She really came up with clutch plays in all areas of her game.”
In the fourth frame, Dickson recorded her third hit of the game with a single through the middle of the infield as Spaulding came to bat with two outs. Spaulding sent a two run homer, her third of the season, towering to center field and gave OU the 5-0 advantage. Spaulding shares the team lead in home runs for the season with junior Jamie Fox, who also has three on the year.
Oklahoma didn’t let up in the fifth inning as freshman Samantha Ricketts led off the frame with a single to right field and Fox, the next batter, walked to give the Sooners runners at first and second. Junior Jade Prather came in to pinch run for Ricketts as Long pounded a triple to bring home Prather and Fox to give Oklahoma the final 8-0 win.
The Sooners will return home for the OU/Worth Invitational set for March 11-12 at the OU Softball Complex. Oklahoma will take on Utah Valley State at 2:15 p.m. and will finish the Saturday doubleheader with a 4:30 p.m. contest against North Texas. In Sunday’s action, the Sooners will play Utah Valley State at 12:15 p.m. followed by a 2:30 p.m. contest against North Texas.