In addition to collecting a season-high 15 hits, it was also a season high in runs for the Sooners, surpassing the 14-run mark they reached twice, and the most since a 19-3 win over Lehigh in last year’s NCAA regional. The 15-run margin of victory was also the team’s largest since the regional win over the Mountain Hawks last year on May 18, 2012.
The offense was led by on Wednesday by sophomore shortstop Jessica Vest, who went 2-2 with two home runs and a career-high seven runs batted in.
The first multi-home run game of Vest’s career comes in the midst of a resurgence for the Hollister, Calif., native. After recording just three singles and two RBI in 27 at-bats a year ago, Vest is now 5-10 this season with three home runs and 10 RBI. In her last two starts she is 4-4 with four runs scored, eight runs batted in, two home runs, one walk and one sacrifice fly.
The Sooners jumped all over the Shockers on Wednesday night, scoring 10 runs over the first two innings.
In the first, sophomore Lauren Chamberlain led the game off with a single to right field and came home one batter later as fellow sophomore Georgia Casey launched a home run to straight-away center field for her fifth of the season.
Senior Jessica Shults and sophomore Shelby Pendley kept the hot start going with back-to-back doubles to put the Sooners on top 3-0. Senior Keilani Ricketts followed with a walk and junior Destinee Martinez singled two batters later to fill the bases. After a force out at the plate retired Pendley, Vest drew a five-pitch walk to bring in the final run of the inning.
Oklahoma then broke the game wide-open with a six-run second.
Casey led off the frame with a single to left field and moved to third as Shults followed with her second double of the game. A walk to Pendley loaded the bases, while subsequent walks to Ricketts and junior Brittany Williams brought home the Sooners’ fifth and sixth runs, respectively.
Later, with one out and the bases still loaded, sophomore Callie Parsons lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Vest then stepped in and crushed a home run beyond the fence in left field to put OU on top 10-0.
Following a scoreless third, Vest added her second home run of the game in the fourth when she followed sophomore Erica Sampson’s single with an opposite-field smash to right field to extend the lead to 12-0.
With the game in hand, Oklahoma’s freshmen had a chance to see extended playing time on Wednesday, and they came through big in the fifth inning.
Freshman Whitney Ellis hit a one-out solo home run to center field for the first hit of her career. Junior Javen Henson then singled up the middle before freshman Leslie Miller collected her first career round-tripper with a two-run bash to right center.
After freshman Paris Townsend reached on an error, fellow freshman Erin Miller singled to right field. Sampson recorded her first career multi-hit contest with a single up the middle to load the bases for Vest. One homer shy of tying the school record, Vest lifted a fly ball to deep center field. It was short of the fence, but it carried far enough to bring in the game’s final run.
With the offense providing the fireworks, Oklahoma’s pitching staff was able to flourish.
Senior Michelle Gascoigne got the start and pitched the first three innings of the game to collect her 13th win in 14 decisions. After giving up a leadoff double, Gascoigne settled in and retired the next nine batters, seven of which came via strikeout.
Gascoigne gave way to Leslie Miller in the fourth. Making her second appearance in the circle, the freshman from Blanchard, Okla., gave up a two-out walk and then a single, but came back to get Erin Carney to foul out.
The fifth inning belonged to freshman Taylor Dewbery. Like Miller, she was also appearing in a game for the second time this season. Dewbery struck out one, gave up one hit and allowed an unearned run to close out the game.
The Sooners will now enjoy their first weekend off since the season started before returning home next Wednesday for a doubleheader against Louisiana-Lafayette. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Marita Hynes Field.
Both games can be seen on Fox Sports Oklahoma and Fox College Sports.