Feb. 20, 2013
| No. 1/2 OU (10-0) at Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
| vs. #16/13 Georgia
|| Thursday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m. CST (Yankee)
| vs. #19/14 Arizona
|| Thursday, Feb. 21, 5:30 p.m. CST (Yankee)
| vs. UC Santa Barbara
|| Friday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. CST (Fenway)
| vs. Nebraska
|| Friday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m. CST (Fenway)
| vs. #23/23 Florida State
|| Saturday, Feb. 23, 11:30 a.m. CST (Wrigley)
|| Palm Springs, Calif. | Big League Dreams Sports Park
| Live Stats
|| Georgia | Arizona | UC Santa Barbara | Nebraska | Florida State
| Game Info
|| Tournament Central | Game Notes | Twitter
Ranked No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and No. 2 in the USA Today/NFCA poll, the University of Oklahoma softball team continues the 2013 season this weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in San Diego, Calif. The Sooners will play five games in three days beginning with a matchup against No. 16/13 Georgia at 3 p.m. CT.
The Sooners then take on No. 19/14 Arizona at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, OU faces UC Santa Barbara and Nebraska in back-to-back games at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, before closing out the event on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. vs. No. 23/23 Florida State.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Of the five matchups this weekend, the Sooners own a winning record in the all-time series against only UC Santa Barbara.
No. 16/13 Georgia (6-2), opened the season 2-2 with splits against Elon and Ohio State. Since, the Bulldogs have won four straight including a 6-5 win over Northwestern, a team OU beat 7-4 this season. Georgia leads the all-time series, 2-1, including a 3-2 win a year ago at the Cathedral City Classic.
No. 19/14 Arizona (8-2) got off to a slow start, losing two games at the Kajikawa Classic, including a 2-1 defeat to Bradley and 14-3 loss to Florida. Things picked up though at the Hillenbrand Invitational where the Wildcats went 5-0. Despite trailing the all-time series, 26-17, Oklahoma has won six in a row in the series, including a two-game sweep in the Super Regional a year ago to advance to the World Series.
UC Santa Barbara (8-2) opened the season on a five-game winning streak at the Mardi Gras Classic. Last weekend, the Gauchos went 3-2 at the Gaucho Classic I, grabbing a pair of wins over San Diego and another over Fresno State. OU and UCSB have only met two times before and have not faced one another since a 12-1 Sooners win in 2008.
Nebraska (9-1) is receiving votes in the most recent USA Softball Poll. The former Big 12 rival won its first six games of the year, including all five at the Hotel Encanto Invitational. At the Hillenbrand Invitational, the Cornhuskers suffered just one defeat to Arizona. The 2012 season marked the first time OU and NU hadn't faced one another since 2002. The Huskers lead all-time 42-38, but the Sooners have won five of the past six meetings.
No. 23/23 Florida State (7-2) went undefeated at the Panhandle Invitational during its opening weekend, but sported a 3-2 record at the Unconquered Invitational. The two losses came to Tulsa, while the Seminoles were able to knock off top-25 foe Hofstra twice. FSU leads OU 6-5 all-time, but the teams haven't met since 2009.
SOONERS STAY ATOP ESPN.COM/USA SOFTBALL POLL
4 Sporting a 10-0 record, including a perfect 5-0 mark at last weekend's Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif., the Oklahoma softball team remained No. 1 in the latest
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25.
After capturing the top spot a week ago with 12 first-place votes, OU now has 16 of the 20 top votes and leads No. 2 Alabama, 496-480.
It marks the first time in school history that the Sooners have been ranked No. 1 in consecutive weeks.
Oklahoma stayed No. 2 in the NFCA Poll, though it did cut into Alabama's lead for the second week in a row. After 10 first-place votes and a nine-point deficit last week, the Sooners gained 11 first-place votes and trimmed the Crimson Tide's lead to just seven points.
GASCOIGNE NAMED BIG 12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne's performance at last weekend's Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif., netted her Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors.
It's the first time in her career that Gascoigne has won the award, and the Sooners have now claimed both Pitcher of the Week honors this season after Keilani Ricketts was recognized last week.
Appearing in four of the five games, Gascoigne posted a 3-0 record and gave up just one earned run in 18.2 innings for a 0.38 ERA. She also struck out 36 and walked just two as she threw two shutouts of her own and combined on another.
Gascoigne struck out a career-high 16 batters against UC Riverside and threw the ninth shutout of her career in a 7-0 win. She also shutout No. 16 Washington, 2-0, with 10 strikeouts. In the Sooners' comeback win over Notre Dame, Gascoigne threw the final 3.2 innings and struck out nine batters to earn the win.
Oklahoma opened the Campbell/Cartier Classic with four straight shutouts, defeating UC Riverside, 7-0, San Diego State, 4-0, Kentucky, 11-0, in five innings and Washington, 2-0.
It was the first time since March 9-13, 2011 that the Sooners had thrown four consecutive shutouts. Going back to the final four innings of the Northwestern contest on Feb. 10, the Sooners' run reached 35 innings without allowing a run before Notre Dame scored in the sixth inning on Feb. 17.
SHULTS EYEING HISTORY
With a grand slam against Kentucky on Feb. 16, senior catcher Jessica Shults tied the Big 12 and Oklahoma career home run record.
The home run was the second of the year for Shults and the 56th of her career. The latter mark ties former Sooner Amber Flores and Texas' Megan Gibson for the Big 12 career home run record.
TO BE THE BEST...
Oklahoma has faced four ranked opponents so far this year, and those four teams all have something in common: none have scored a run against the Sooners.
Oklahoma has defeated No. 20 Stanford, No. 6 Oregon, No. 22 Kentucky and No. 16 Washington by a combined score of 31-0.
The Sooners' 4-0 record against ranked opponents is the best in the
nation, while the four total wins are tied with Tulsa for the most in the country this season.
SOONERS OPEN WITH SWEEP AT KAJIKAWA
Oklahoma opened the 2013 season with a perfect 5-0 mark at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. It's the second year in a row, and 10th time overall, that the Sooners have started 5-0 under Patty Gasso.
The Sooners defeated No. 21 Stanford, 6-0, behind a no-hitter from Keilani Ricketts and back-to-back-to-back home runs in the first inning from Jessica Shults, Ricketts and Shelby Pendley.
Lauren Chamberlain provided the punch in a 14-2, five inning win over Oregon State. She hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs. OU scored 11 runs in the fourth inning.
Ricketts came back and fired another no-hitter to propel OU past No. 5 Oregon, 12-0, in five innings. The Sooners then run-ruled New Mexico, 11-1, in five innings before besting Northwestern, 7-4, behind two home runs from Georgia Casey.
NOTES FROM KAJIKAWA
As a team, the Sooners hit .316 with a .500 on-base percentage and .684 slugging. Opponents hit just .130 with a .202 OBP and .194 slugging ... Oklahoma hit 13 homers over the weekend. OU's opponents had 14 hits ... The Sooners opponents' ERA was 11.67, giving up 45 earned runs in 27.0 innings. OU's ERA came in at an impressive 1.69 ... Four Sooners pitchers combined to strike out 55 batters in 29 innings ... The Sooners drew 37 walks and struck out 27 times ... The Sooners were 17-40 (.425) with runners in scoring position and 7-10 (.700) with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs.
RICKETTS THROWS BACK-TO-BACK NO-HITTERS
Keilani Ricketts started the 2013 season with no-hitters against No. 21 Stanford and No. 5 Oregon.
In a 6-0 win over the Cardinal, she struck out 14 batters and yielded just five baserunners. In fact, no balls put in play reached the outfield.
Ricketts then threw her second no-hitter in as many games as she shut down the Ducks, 12-0, in five innings. In earning career win No. 100, she allowed just two baserunners and struck out 10 batters.
She now has three career no-hitters, becoming the fifth pitcher in OU history to reach that figure. Ricketts 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.
CHAMBERLAIN DOMINATES ON OPENING WEEKEND
Putting sophomore slugger Lauren Chamberlain into the leadoff position has paid immediate dividends for the Sooner offense.
At the Kajikawa Classic, Chamberlain was 7-11 (.636) with 12 runs, 4 home runs, 12 RBI, 6 walks and 3 hit by pitch. She had a .800 on-base percentage and 1.727 slugging percentage.
Chamberlain actually reached base in her first 10 plate appearances. She was 5-5 with four walks and a hit by pitch before striking out in her third plate appearance against Oregon. Of her five hits, four were home runs.
1. Stanford: HBP, HR, IBB, 1B
2. Oregon State: HR, BB, BB, HR
3. Oregon: BB, HR, KS, 2B
4. New Mexico: HBP, 1B, F7, BB
5. Northwestern: BB, HBP, 1B, F8, ROE
Between hits, walks, hit by pitches and a reach on error, Chamberlain reached safely in 18 of her first 21 plate appearances to start the season.
SAME OLD SHULTS
Jessica Shults' first at-bat of the 2013 season resulted in a three-run home run against Stanford. That's nothing new for the senior, though. She has led off three of her four seasons as a Sooner with a home run:
2/13/2010 Florida Atlantic Grand Slam
2/10/2011 Cal State Bakersfield Strikeout Looking
2/10/2012 Cal State Bakersfield 3-Run Home Run
2/08/2013 Oregon 3-Run Home Run
HOME RUN BARRAGE
Shults' three-run blast against against Stanford set the tone for the Oklahoma offense as she was followed by a solo shot by senior Keilani Ricketts and another solo bomb by Shelby Pendley for back-to-back-to-back home runs in the season's first inning.
On the weekend, the Sooners hit at least two home runs in every contest and finished with 13 in five games, an average of 2.6 per game.
SUCCESS WITH THE BASES LOADED
In their opening weekend, the Sooners loaded the bases 21 times and scored 18 runs in those situation. The feat is even more remarkable as the Sooners only accumulated four hits to score the runs.
Oklahoma scored 10 times without putting the ball in play as it drew nine bases-loaded walks and one hit by pitch. For good measure, OU also had a grand slam, a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.
SOONERS ADD TRANSFER PENDLEY
Shelby Pendley, an infielder who spent her freshman season at the University of Arizona, has transferred to the Oklahoma softball program.
An All-Pac-12 First Team honoree, Pendley started all 57 games at shortstop and led the Wildcats in slugging percentage (.703) and home runs (19). She also finished second on the squad with a .331 batting average, 55 runs batted in, 121 total bases and 39 runs scored.
Her home run total put her 13th nationally and two off the Arizona freshman record. She joins an Oklahoma lineup that ranked second in the country with 1.59 home runs per game and set school and conference records with 102 homers on the year. She also ranked 30th in the nation with 55 RBI, hit seven doubles and reached base at a .413 clip.
With the addition of Shelby Pendley, the potent Sooners' lineup becomes even more powerful.
As was noted by ESPN's Graham Hays, the combination of Lauren Chamberlain (30 home runs in 2012), Jessica Shults (20), Keilani Ricketts (17), Georgia Casey (10) and Pendley (19 at Arizona) combined to hit 96 home runs a year ago.
That figure for those five alone was higher than 281 of the other 282 teams in Division I College Softball a year ago.
GASSO INDUCTED INTO NFCA HALL OF FAME
Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso added another honor to an already impressive career in November when she was one of three members inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the 2012 NFCA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Gasso joined North Carolina's Donna Papa and former Palomar head coach Mark Eldridge as members of the 2012 class.