Ricketts Fires Second No-Hitter
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After opening the season with a no-hitter against No. 21 Stanford on Friday, one might have wondered what senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts would do for an encore. How about another no-hitter?
Ricketts threw her second no-hitter in as many games on Saturday morning as the No. 2 Oklahoma softball team shut down No. 5 Oregon, 12-0, in five innings.
"You can't ask for anything more," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. "It's almost scary. We have a long season ahead but she's locked in and relaxed. She's worked very well with Coach [Melyssa] Lombardi and [Jesssica] Shults back behind the plate.
"They set up a great gameplan and executed it very well against a very good Oregon team that has World Series experience."
In earning career win No. 100, the senior lefty from San Jose, Calif., allowed just two baserunners against the Ducks on a walk and error. Of her 15 outs in the game, 10 came via strike out.
In taking down the No. 21 and No. 5 teams in the country, Ricketts has struck out 24 in 12 innings of work. She now has three career no-hitters, becoming the fifth pitcher in OU history to reach that figure.
She also joins Lauren Eckermann as the only Sooners to throw no-hitters on consecutive days. Eckermann accomplished the feat on March 3-4, 2007 against Temple and Wichita State, respectively.
Against Oregon, the Sooners jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Lauren Chamberlain drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second base by Georgia Casey. After a foul out, Ricketts fittingly shot a single back up the middle to plate what would turn out to be the game-winning run.
The Sooners busted the game open in the second inning, beginning with some small ball before breaking out the big sticks.
Brittany Williams reached via a walk and was pinch run for by Callie Parsons. After a steal of second, Parsons reached third by advancing on a foul out. Javen Henson then brought her home with a squeeze bunt.
Brianna Turang reached on a bunt single to put two on for Chamberlain, who crushed her fourth home run of the season over the fence in left field.
A Ducks' fielding error kept the inning alive and the Sooners capitalized.
With two out and Jessica Shults on, Ricketts walked and Shelby Pendley hit her second home run of the season to right center.
"We knew going in that we were going to have to fight," Gasso said. "But this team knows that they're pretty good and they have fun seeing how good they can be. My job is to just watch it and enjoy it like everyone else."
The scoring continued in the fifth inning when Pendley drew a leadoff walk and came home when Williams re-entered the game and homered for the first time this season.
With the game in hand, several Sooners freshman got their chance in the inning.
After freshman Leslie Miller walked, fellow freshman Erin Miller collected the first hit of her career. Jules Townsend then laced an RBI double to left center in her Sooners debut. Whitney Ellis came up next and picked up an RBI in her first action with OU.
The Sooners continue play at the Kajikawa Classic at 12:30 p.m. CT against New Mexico.