Ricketts is now tied with Lauren Eckermann for the most no-hitters in school history and also joins Eckermann as the only Sooner to throw three no-hitters in a single season. Eckermann accomplished the feat in 2007, while Ricketts opened the 2013 season with no-hitters against No. 21 Stanford and No. 5 Oregon.
“I thought we played very well,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “Keilani was in complete control tonight, and she worked ahead in the count, which was really good to see.
“Offensively, we had hard outs tonight. If they weren’t hard hits, they were hard outs, so I don’t think we gave away too many at-bats. We fought hard to get good counts to hit in, and everybody, one through nine, had some contribution.”
Ricketts, who is 19-1 on the season, recorded a strikeout in every inning and finished the game with eight punchouts. She walked four but got two double plays from her defense to mitigate any damage.
Perfect through three innings, Ricketts allowed her first base runner when Mikey Kenney walked to lead off the fourth. Kenney was quickly erased one batter later though when OU second baseman Georgia Casey fielded a grounder from Shelby Johnson, tagged Kenney and then flipped to first base for a double play.
Texas Tech only got a runner as far as second base and that came with two outs in the fifth. Ricketts struck out Sydnie Tapia, though, to close out the frame.
The Sooners turned their second double play of the night to end the game in the sixth inning as Casey started a 4-6-3 double play to give OU its 15th run-rule win of the season.
At the plate, Ricketts helped herself by walking and scoring a run in three plate appearances.
“I think Keilani mixed her changeup really well and was spotting pitches early” Gasso said. “Texas Tech was taking more pitches than we were used to them taking and Keilani took advantage of that.”
Oklahoma’s offense gave Ricketts all the support she would need as it jumped all over Texas Tech in the first inning, scoring three runs before an out was recorded.
Sophomore Lauren Chamberlain led off with a single and then stole second base. Casey then singled up the middle and Chamberlain dove around the tag of catcher Lexie Elkins to score the game’s first run. Sophomore Shelby Pendley followed with a two-run home run to left center, her 11th of the season.
Ricketts kept the momentum going by drawing a walk and stealing second base. Two batters later, junior Destinee Martinez pulled a ball through the right side and Ricketts again eluded a tag on a play at the plate.
Coach Gasso felt that jumping out to the lead allowed Ricketts to enter the circle with confidence.
“It just allows her to exhale and know that if she is going to make a mistake it’s not going to hurt us,” Gasso explained. “She didn’t need that comfort tonight, but it’s always nice to feel that way.”
After the next four innings passed without a run, the Sooners broke the game open in the top of the sixth.
Martinez led off with a single through the left side and, two batters later, came home on a single to right field by senior Brianna Turang. Chamberlain followed with a deep, two-run home run to center field to give OU a 7-0 lead.
It was Chamberlain’s 49th home run of her career and her 19th this season. Her career total now gives her sole possession of third place at Oklahoma and fifth place in Big 12 history, breaking a tie with former Sooner Samantha Ricketts.
In addition, Chamberlain’s season total is now tied for fifth-best in OU annals, matching the mark teammate Jessica Shults established in 2011. Chamberlain finished Friday night’s game 3-4, matching a career high in hits and also tying her career best with two stolen bases.
With two outs in the sixth, Pendley crushed a solo home run to straight-away center field for her 12th homer of the season and second of the game. It was Pendley sixth career multi-home run game and her third time doing so with the Sooners.
Like Chamberlain, Pendley also went 3-4 to tie a career high in hits.
With the lead well in hand, Oklahoma was able to go to its bench and give valuable playing time to its freshmen.
Paris Townsend pinch hit and delivered a single before being replaced by Erin Miller on the basepaths. That brought Kady Self to the plate and she picked up the first hit of her career with a blooper to right field. Erin Miller advanced to third on the play and came home one batter later as Leslie Miller singled right back up the middle to bring home the game’s final run.
Game two of the three-game series is set for a 4 p.m. start on Saturday, and the contest will stream live on TexasTech.TV.