NORMAN, Okla. Led by a strong senior performance, the No. 21 Oklahoma softball team finished the regular season with a 4-0 shutout over North Texas Wednesday night at the OU Softball Complex. The Sooners, currently on a seven game winning streak, finished the regular season with a 35-18-1 overall mark and an 8-10 record in Big 12 action.
It was no surprise that Senior Night was dominated by strong performances from seniors Nicole Denes and Kristin Vesely. Denes pitched her third shutout of the year while Vesely went 3-for-3, including a home run. Vesely continues to chase the career hits record as she is six shy of the record (289) held by Lisa Carey.
“Our seniors were outstanding for us tonight,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “It’s tough with all the emotions that are running through your mind, but they were clutch tonight.”
Denes pushed her record to 11-5 after surrendering only four hits while fanning five batters.
“I wanted to throw my heart out there tonight,” Denes said. “My team gave a great performance and it was a perfect way to end senior night.”
Vesely got the offense started in the first inning with a single to right field to score Norrelle Dickson. Freshman Samantha Ricketts followed with a sacrifice fly to right field and Oklahoma owned a 2-0 lead after the first frame.
It was Vesely again in the third with a solo home run that soared over the right field fence, marking her fifth homer of the year.
The Sooners strung together three straight hits in the fourth after singles by Denes, Traci Dickenson and Norrelle Dickson, but the Sooners were unable to capitalize as OU’s Prather, pinch running for Denes, was picked off at third and Dickenson was thrown out at home trying to advance off Dickson’s hit.
Junior Jamie Fox, pinch hitting for Susan Ogden in the sixth, added Oklahoma’s final run with her solo home run to deep center field, her sixth shot of the year.
The Sooner offense tallied 12 hits off UNT’s Anne Morton, who fell to 0-2 on the year. In addition to Vesely, Dickson and Dickenson each recorded 3-for-3 outings at the plate.
With the regular season done, the Sooners will now focus on the Big 12 Championship May 10-13 at ASA Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Currently, the Sooners are a No. 5 seed, but need Nebraska to sweep Missouri this upcoming weekend to clinch that seed. If Missouri wins one game in the series against Nebraska, the Sooners will be a No. 6 seed.
Regardless of its seeding, the Sooners will play on Thursday at 11 a.m. As a fifth seed, OU would face the No. 4 seed in the tournament (Texas A&M) or as a sixth seed, the Sooners would match up against the No. 3 seed in the tournament (Nebraska or Baylor).