NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 21 Oklahoma softball team is closing out the final week of Big 12 play with a three-game home stand, beginning with Oklahoma State this Wednesday night. The first pitch of the Bedlam Series, presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and your local Oklahoma Ford Dealers, will be thrown at 7 p.m. at the OU Softball Complex. The Sooners will be aiming for their first sweep of a Big 12 team this season.
The Sooners will finish regular season Big 12 play with a home series against Kansas on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.) at the OU Softball Complex.
The final stretch of OU’s regular season will end with a doubleheader against Arkansas on May 1 in Fayetteville, Ark., followed by senior night at the OU Softball Complex on May 3 against North Texas.
The Bedlam Series will be broadcast within the state of Oklahoma by Cox (channel 7 in OKC/Metro area) with Brian Brinkley on play-by-play and Kenny Mossman on color. Additional viewings include Cox channel 3 in Tulsa, KSWO in Lawton, KOMI in Woodward and KAUT (UPN) in OKC.
The game will also be carried on two radio stations. The OU radio broadcast will be aired on KOKC (1520 AM) with Tony Sellars. The OSU broadcast with Bill VanNess can be found on KGFY (105.5 FM).
Additionally, O-Zone viewers can watch Bedlam action on SoonerSports.com. Live stats of Wednesday’s game will also be available via SoonerSports.com.
|See how the Sooners stack up against OSU in the Bedlam Series presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and Your Oklahoma Ford Dealers!|
TICKETS AND PROMOTIONS
Seats to Wednesday’s game are still available for $10 (reserved), $7 (adult general admission), $5 (youth general admission) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and at SoonerSports.com. The gates will open an hour and a half before game time.
The first 250 fans through the gates on Wednesday night will receive OU foam noodles and pom-poms.
The Sooners currently sit at sixth in the Big 12 standings after a split with Iowa State this past weekend in Ames pushed OU’s record to 5-10 in the conference. Oklahoma continues to lead the league in offense as it owns top marks in seven different offensive categories. Additionally, Oklahoma has the top two hitters in the league in Norrelle Dickson (.452 avg) and Kristin Vesely (.447 avg).
OU’s staff leader, freshman D.J. Mathis (2.82 ERA, 10-6) earned the 15-1 run-rule victory over the Cowgirls earlier this year after holding OSU to four hits and one earned run while striking out seven Cowgirls. Freshman Morgan Hudsonpillar (3.27 ERA, 6-4) and Nicole Denes (3.91 ERA, 7-5) could also see time in the circle Wednesday night.
In the all-time series between both schools, Oklahoma State leads with a 62-54 advantage, but the Sooners have owned the rivalry since the beginning of Big 12 play. OU has swept the series from OSU in eight of the 10 seasons of conference play, and has done no worse than split during those 10 years. Additionally, Oklahoma has claimed seven straight wins in the rivalry and 21 of the last 22.
BEDLAM SERIES PART ONE RECAP
The Sooners used a 15-1 five-inning run rule of Oklahoma State on April 6 in Stillwater to claim its seventh straight victory over the Cowgirls in the Bedlam series.
Offensively, the Sooners were impressive as they scored their second-highest run total of the year with 15 runs on 15 hits and had 11 Sooners tally a hit. Highlighting the offense were Samantha Ricketts and sophomore Susan Ogden, who led OU with 2-for-3 outings and three RBI a piece. Ogden pounded the first home run of her career
Freshman starter D.J. Mathis was equally impressive in the circle as the lefty tied her career high with seven strikeouts and allowed only one earned run on four hits in 4.0 innings of work
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE
Similar to the Sooners, the Cowgirls own a 5-10 record in Big 12 play this season. OSU has recorded five league wins with a sweep over Texas Tech and series splits with Iowa State, Kansas and Missouri. Oklahoma State currently owns a three-game winning streak on the road.
Offensively, OSU is batting .272 (fourth in the Big 12) with three Cowgirls swinging over .300 on the season. Left fielder Lauren Kitchens is leading the Big 12 in conference games only with a .425 average. Kitchens was the lone Cowgirl to produce multiple hits (2) against the Sooners in the first Bedlam meeting of the year.
First baseman Kim Kaye is the power hitter on the squad as she owns a team-best 42 RBI and nine home runs on the season.
Junior right-hander Jessica Hoppock (3.82 ERA, 12-18) has been the Cowgirl’s go-to-girl in the circle. Hoppock has thrown 190.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .283 batting average. Hoppock took the loss against the Sooners earlier this year after giving up seven runs, three earned, on seven hits in 2.2 innings of work.
VESELY SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR USA SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Senior center fielder Kristin Vesely has been named one of 25 candidates for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, announced the Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States. It marks the second consecutive year that Vesely has made the list of 25. Vesely was on the Preseason Watch List that was comprised of 40 players. She was joined by fellow Sooner Norrelle Dickson.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR PROFILE - KRISTIN VESELY
Senior Kristin Vesely, an All-America candidate and USA Softball Player of the Year Finalist, is on the same torrid pace she was last season where she earned second team All-America honors. She currently ranks in the top 10 of 11 different OU career lists and has already set career single season records in home runs (4) and RBI (39).
Vesely leads the Big 12 in doubles while ranking second in batting average, hits, runs and on base percentage. She is ranked in the top-five of every Big 12 offensive category except for home runs.
Additionally, she ranks among the top offensive hitters in the nation with a .447 clip, which ranks 14th in the country.
The center fielder is stellar on defense with a 59-game errorless streak dating back to May 1, 2005. The speedy outfielder is the only Sooner starter to not commit an error this season.
VESELY AND DICKSON INVITED TO USA SOFTBALL CAMP
Current OU softball players Norrelle Dickson and Kristin Vesely have been invited to USA Softball’s upcoming selection camps for the 2006 World University Games team. Additionally, former Sooner All-American Lisa Carey has also been extended an invitation to the USA Softball Women’s National Team Selection Camp.
The 27 participants invited to the World University Team Selection Camp come from 11 different colleges. Dickson and Vesely, both 2005 All-Americans, join Texas’ Tina Boutelle and Desiree Williams as the only Big 12 representatives invited to the World University team selection camp.
The World University Games selection camp will be held June 9-11 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and will be followed by the Women’s National Team camp June 13-17. The Women’s National Team will represent the United States at three events this year including the II World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, Okla., the only National Team event held on American soil.
The Sooners fell to No. 23 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll released April 25 and are currently ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. The latest NFCA poll will not be released until Wednesday, April 26. The Sooners have been ranked in the top 25 of every NFCA poll since its inception. OU and Arizona are the only programs to be ranked in the NFCA Top-25 every week of its existence.
PLAYER TO WATCH: TRACI DICKENSON
In the past week, rookie third baseman Traci Dickenson has been on fire. Dickenson has recorded a .571 average and a 1.143 slugging percentage in OU’s last three games. Her three-run homer in the top of the seventh eventually led to OU’s 8-6 win over Iowa State.
Overall, Dickenson owns a .300 clip with six home runs. Against Oklahoma State earlier this year, she recorded a double and was one of 11 Sooners to record a hit.
Notable streaks entering the game against Oklahoma State:
231 - Consecutive games started by Kristin Vesely.
151 - Consecutive weeks since the inception of the NFCA Poll that OU has been ranked in the top-25.
59 - Consecutive games Kristin Vesely has not committed an error, dating back to May 1, 2005
16 - Consecutive games Norrelle Dickson has not committed an error
12 - Consecutive seasons under Gasso that the Sooners have won their home opener
12 - Consecutive seasons of 40 or more wins, 11 under Gasso.
12 - Consecutive trips to the NCAA postseason
7 - Consecutive wins for OU in the Bedlam Series
6 - Consecutive Regional Championships
3 - Consecutive seasons Gasso has started a freshman at shortstop
DICKSON, VESELY HEADLINING BIG 12 OFFENSE
OU’s Norrelle Dickson and Kristin Vesely are highlighting the Big 12’s offense so far this season. Dickson recently over took Vesely for the Big 12 lead in batting average. Dickson owns a Big 12-best .452 on the year while Vesely follows with a .447 clip (second in the Big 12).
Dickson leads the league with 71 hits on the season, a 1.48 per game average, while Vesely is right behind her with a 1.40 per game average.
Additionally, Dickson and Vesely are among the top three in the conference in runs scored. Dickson leads with 51 scored on the year while Vesely is third with 40 on the season.
Dickson (.527) and Vesely (.514) are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in on base percentage for the conference.
Vesely and freshman Samantha Ricketts are tied for fifth in the conference with 39 RBI each/
The Sooners lead the Big 12 in doubles thanks to Vesely and sophomore Savannah Long. Vesely shares the league lead with 13 hit on the year while Savannah Long has pounded 11 on the year.
BIG 12 BEST - PART TWO
Along with individual leaders, the Sooners are also leading the conference in overall team batting with a .311 clip. The Sooners are also tops in on base percentage (.387), runs (277), hits (406), doubles (72), RBI (253) and base on balls (130).
BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Senior right fielder Amber Spaulding was named the Big 12’s Player of the Week on March 14 for games played March 6-12. Spaulding led the Sooners to a perfect 5-0 record and .529 (9-for-17) with 13 RBI, including a home run in four consecutive games.
Senior center fielder Kristin Vesely was named the Big 12’s Co-Player of the Week for games played Feb. 13-19. Vesely split the honor with Texas’ Tina Boutelle. Vesely put together a 12-for-16 outing at the plate in all six games with a .750 batting average, including nine RBI and 10 runs scored.
OU VS. NCAA FIELD
In addition to leading the Big 12 in offense, the Sooners are also among the top offensive teams, nationally. Below is a look at where Oklahoma stands as a team and individually among NCAA teams.
BIG 12 HISTORY
OU has an all-time record of 145-49 (.747) in Big 12 games .... Oklahoma’s 145 wins and .747 winning percentage in league play is a conference best ... In the league’s 10-year history, OU has won a National Championship (2000), three regular season titles (1996, 1999, 2000) and two Big 12 tournament crowns (1996, 2001) ... No Big 12 school has been to the WCWS more than the Sooners (five times).
IT TAKES SEVEN TO WIN
The lucky number for OU this year has been seven as the Sooners are 18-0-1 when scoring seven or more runs in a game. Conversely, Oklahoma is 11-18 when not scoring seven plus runs.
SCORE FIRST = SUCCESS
Scoring first has been a key in OU’s victories this season as the Sooners are 24-4 when getting on the board first and are 16-6 when scoring in the first inning.
NEW ADDITION TO THE OFFENSE
Freshman pitcher Morgan Hudsonpillar doesn’t get too many appearances at the plate, but when she does, it has turned into much success for the Sooners. In her four appearances in the lineup this season, Hudsonpillar has gone 3-for-4 with two RBI. She came through at Iowa State in OU’s 8-6 win over the Cyclones Sunday as she went 2-for-2 in the contest.
Despite a young infield, the Oklahoma defense has been key for the Sooners this season as it has only given up 39 errors on the season and owns a .972 fielding percentage, which ranks 23rd in the country. The season record for fewest errors in a season is 42, set by the 2001 squad.
OU’s opponents might feel like they’re seeing double as the Sooners have successfully turned 20 double plays in 2006, a Big 12 best. Oklahoma State owns the second-best margin in the Big 12 with 17 this season.
CLOSING IN ON DOUBLE PLAY HISTORY
The single season high for a Sooner squad is 22 double plays set in 2004 after playing 68 games. With a 54-game regular season schedule, Oklahoma is on pace to break that mark in the regular season alone. Second baseman Savannah Long is the leading contributor with 15 double plays turned on the season.
Junior Norrelle Dickson is having another stellar season as the leadoff batter for the Sooners. In 2005, Dickson earned All-America honors after posting a .361 clip (70-189) while averaging 1.06 hits per game with 10 RBI total on the season.
The left fielder is even more impressive in 2006 as she owns a Big 12-best .452 clip while averaging 1.48 hits per game (first in the Big 12) and has already surpassed last season’s RBI mark with 19 through 48 games in 2006. Below is a look at how Dickson stacks up against other top leadoff batters in the conference:
SWITCHING IT UP
Oklahoma returns only four starters from last year’s Regional 14 Champion squad, but not all of the returnees have appeared in the same position this spring. Sophomore Savannah Long was a consistent starter at shortstop in 2005, but has made the switch to the right side of the infield this season where she has seen all of her time at second base (48 starts). Junior All-American (third team) Norrelle Dickson uses her speed mostly in left field this season after spending her first two seasons at shortstop and third base for the Sooners.
Junior Jamie Fox was a consistent starter in right field last season and has seen eight starts in the same position, in addition to appearances in left field (seven starts), but most of her time has come in the designated player spot (20 starts). Senior Kristin Vesely was expected to be the lone consistency in the outfield where she has started most of her career. However, Vesely has also started three games at catcher.
LUCKY NO. 3
In 2005, Norrelle Dickson (No. 1) and Kristin Vesely (No. 2) were one of the best 1-2 leadoff duos in the country as both earned All-America honors for their efforts. This year, Vesely has made the switch to the No. 3 spot in the lineup and the Sooners have benefited from her success there. Vesely has already surpassed her 2005 RBI total (30) and ranks fifth in the conference with 39 RBI on the season.
TWO OUT RALLY
Oklahoma is using a two-out rally to score most of its runs this season as the Sooners are batting .299 (129-431) and have driven in 40 percent (101-253) of their RBI with two outs. No player has shown this skill more than Kristin Vesely who has pounded 21 of her team-leading 39 RBI with two outs.
The Sooners have taken advantage of runners in scoring position as Oklahoma is hitting at a .337 clip with runners in scoring posit