Sooners to face five teams in three days, including No. 14 Arizona
March 14, 2013
| No. 1/1 OU (22-1) at Judi Garman Classic
| vs. Pacific
|| Friday, March 15, 12 p.m. CST (Field 2)
| vs. North Carolina State
|| Friday, March 15, 2:30 p.m. CST (Field 2)
| vs. #14/19 Arizona
|| Saturday, March 16, 5 p.m. CST (Field 1)
| vs. Penn State
|| Sunday, March 17, 11 a.m. CST (Field 1)
| vs. Cal State Fullerton
|| Sunday, March 17, 1:30 p.m. CST (Field 1)
|| Fullerton, Calif. | Anderson Family Field
| Live Stats
|| Pacific | NC State | Arizona | Penn State | CS Fullerton
| Game Info
|| Tournament Central | Game Notes | Twitter
The consensus No. 1 team in the country, the University of Oklahoma softball team continues the 2013 season this weekend as it takes part in its final tournament of the regular season at the Judi Garmin Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
The Sooners open play on Friday at 12 p.m. CT with back-to-back games against Pacific and North Carolina State. OU then faces No. 14/19 Arizona on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT in a rematch from Feb. 21 when Oklahoma won 5-0 in San Diego. The weekend closes out on Sunday with games against Penn State and host-Cal State Fullerton, starting at 11 a.m. CT.
OU is competing at the Judi Garmin Classic for the fifth season in a row, going 15-6 in that span. A year ago, the
Sooners went a perfect 4-0 and outscored opponents, 35-3.
SOONERS BECOME CONSENSUS NO. 1 TEAM
For the first time in program history, the Oklahoma softball team is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation. The Sooners, 22-1 on the season, earned all 31 first-place votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll and 18 of 20 votes from the ESPN.com/USA Softball
The team has now been atop the USA Softball poll for five consecutive weeks after entering the season with just two appearances as the No. 1 team in either poll. It's the second time the Sooners have been No. 1 in the NFCA poll, first earning the mark after winning the 2000 national championship.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Pacific (14-11) enters the weekend trying to break out of a recent skid that has seen the team lose five of its last six games. The Tigers have played two common opponents with the Sooners this year, beating Northern Colorado, 8-0 and 10-4, and losing to Stanford, 2-0. OU holds a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series and has won seven straight. The teams last met in 2011 when Oklahoma won 13-2 in five innings as Jessica Shults went 2-3 with a home run, 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.
North Carolina State (11-8-1) won all four games at their own Wolfpack Challenge, March 1-3, but then got swept in three games by Florida State last weekend. Renada Davis leads the team with 9 home runs and a .712 slugging percentage, while Scout Albertson has a team-best .341 average. This will be just the third meeting between the two schools with the Wolfpack winning games in 2007 and 2009.
Arizona (18-5) is ranked No. 14 by the NFCA and No. 19 by USA Softball. The Wildcats have won eight games in a row after posting a 2-3 record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. One of those three losses was to Oklahoma, 5-0, on Feb. 21. Michelle Gascoigne struck out 12 in a three-hit shutout while Jessica Shults homered to break the Big 12's all-time home run mark.
Penn State (6-12) suffered a six-game losing streak from Feb. 24-March 5 but has righted the ship some by winning three of its last six games and two of its last three. Cassidy Bell has been one of the best players in the country, hitting .463 with 10 home runs and a 1.093 slugging percentage. Oklahoma has won three of the four matchups between the teams, including a 6-1 win last year that featued a home run by Jessica Shults and four no-hit innings of relief pitching by Keilani Ricketts.
Cal-State Fullerton (11-13) is the host school for this weekend's games. The Titans have alternated wins and losses over their last six games, while their best victory of the season came against then-No. 7 Missouri on Feb. 23, 5-4. Fullerton leads OU, 9-4, in their history, but the schools have met only three times since 2003 and none since 2010.
PENDLEY'S HOT STRETCH NETS WEEKLY HONORS
In the midst of a torrid stretch at the plate, sophomore infielder Shelby Pendley has been named the Big 12 Player of the Week. Pendley hit .778 (7-9) while posting an on-base
percentage of .857 and a slugging percentage of 2.333 in four games last weekend against Northern Colorado and Drake. Of her 7 hits, 4 went for home runs and 2 were doubles. Pendley scored 10 runs, drove in 13 more, drew 5 walks and did not strike out.
For Pendley, who played at Arizona last season, it's the first weekly conference honors of her career. She's the second Sooner to be named Big 12 Player of the Week this year, joining Lauren Chamberlain who won on Feb. 12.
Of the 10 honors handed out this season by the Big 12 for Player and Pitcher of the Week, OU has taken home five awards. Keilani Ricketts has been named Pitcher of the Week twice (Feb. 12, 26), while Michelle Gascoigne won once (Feb. 19).
Since Feb. 23 (nine games), Pendley is hitting .789 (15-19) with a .867 on-base percentage and a 1.684 slugging percentage. She has 13 runs, 4 home runs, 5 doubles, 14 RBI, 11 walks and 0 strikeouts over that span and has seen her season batting average climb from .262 to .426.
TAKING ON THE TOP 25
OU is 8-1 against top 25 teams at the time of the matchup with wins over Stanford (No. 20), Oregon (No. 6), Kentucky (No. 22), Washington (No. 16), Georgia (No. 16), Arizona (No. 19) and Florida State (No. 23). The Sooners are 1-1 against Nebraska when the Huskers (No. 25) are ranked.
Through March 10, the Sooners lead the nation in wins against top-25 teams (8) and winning percentage against top-25 teams (.889; min. 2 games), while they are third in games played against ranked teams (9).The statistical breakdown between Oklahoma and its ranked opponents illustrates how dominant OU has been.
OU won its first eight games of the year against top-25 teams, tying for the school's longest winning streak in such games. The record was initially set March 14-May 12, 2000.
It took 49 innings, but a ranked team finally scored against Oklahoma when No. 25 Nebraska plated three runs in the top of the fifth inning on March 2. At the time, OU was outscoring ranked teams 50-0. The run differential now sits at 57-4.
SOONERS RUN-RULE NORTHERN COLORADO, DRAKE
Hosting Northern Colorado and Drake for four games last weekend, the Sooners made quick work of both teams as they won each game by run-rule. After beating UNC, 14-0, in five innings on Friday, OU then beat Drake, 10-2, in six innings. It was more of the same on Saturday as Oklahoma beat the Bears, 10-0, in five innings and the Bulldogs, 13-0, in five innings.
The wins marked the first time since March 11-12, 2006, that the
Sooners scored 10 or more runs in four straight games, and not since March 6-12, 2011, had they won four in a row via run-rule. OU has never scored 10+ runs in five straight games.
The Sooners posted a slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .435/.570/.967, while their opponents countered with a line of .137/.160/.233. OU hit 13 home runs on the weekend, compared to just 10 hits combined for UNC and DU.
An Oklahoma player enjoyed a multi-home run game in each of the four contests as Shelby Pendley did it on Friday against UNC, Lauren
Chamberlain did it Friday night against Drake, Keilani Ricketts homered twice on Saturday against the Bears and Pendley did it again vs. DU.
SEASON-OPENING STREAK STOPPED
Before a 1-0 loss to No. 25 Nebraska on March 2, the Sooners enjoyed the second-longest unbeaten streak to start a season in school history at 17-0. Only a 23-0 run to open 2007 ranks better in school annals.
In its history, OU has started the season with a 10-0 mark or better six times, all of which have come under Patty Gasso.
Under Gasso, OU has 21 winning streaks of at least 10 games including three of at least 23 and seven of at least 15 wins.
Oklahoma's 1-2 punch of Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne has been dominant in 2013. While Ricketts is 11-0 and Gascoigne is 9-1, each has an ERA under 0.87 and is holding an opponents' batting average under .146. Ricketts has thrown eight shutouts, Gascoigne has thrown four and the pair combined on another.
Gascoigne is averaging 12.6 strikeouts per seven innings and a 10.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Ricketts' marks in those categories stand at 10.5 and 6.7, respectively.
In 10 of the 23 games this season, Oklahoma pitchers Keilani Ricketts, Michelle Gascoigne, Taylor Dewbery and Georgia Casey have helped carry a no-hitter into at least the fourth inning. Ricketts was able to finish the job in twice, recording back-to-back no-hitters to start the season.
5-0 AT MARY NUTTER CLASSIC
Oklahoma posted a 5-0 record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, including three wins over top-25 teams. OU scored a pair of 5-0 wins to take down No. 16 Georgia and No. 19 Arizona.
After a 5-2 win over UC Santa Barbara, the Sooners scratched out a 2-0 win against Nebraska before defeating No. 23 Florida State, 6-0.
In allowing just two earned runs in 35.0 innings, the Sooners sported a 0.40 earned run average.
SHULTS MAKES HISTORY
Locked in a pitchers' duel, senior Jessica Shults used a historic blast to propel Oklahoma to a 5-0 win over No. 19 Arizona on Feb. 21 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The solo blast in the fifth inning of a 1-0 game was her third of the year and the 57th of her career, setting a Big 12 and school record for career home runs. It broke a tie with Texas' Megan Gibson and former Sooner Amber Flores who both hit 56 homers in their respective careers.
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 threw four straight shutouts. Going back to the final 4 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.
On the weekend, the Sooners gave up just three earned runs in 35.0 innings of work, good for a 0.60 earned run average.
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.
Ricketts 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 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 reached base in her first 10 plate appearances, going 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.
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.
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. As a contrast, OU's five openings opponents had 14 total hits.
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.