No. 6 Oklahoma looks to capture 2012 series after winning first game on March 28.
April 10, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. --No. 6 Oklahoma (32-5, 8-2 Big 12) looks to extend its Big 12 lead Wednesday when it travels to Oklahoma State (18-15, 2-5 Big 12) for the second leg of the Bedlam Series presented by Farm Bureau. The game is the first on campus game between the two schools after OU captured the neutral site match up, 4-0, on March 28 in Oklahoma City. The game will be broadcasted statewide on Cox Channel 3 while Brian Brinkley will have the OU radio call on KREF 1400 AM.
The Sooners enter the Bedlam showdown leading the Big 12 with an 8-2 conference record and are led by the Big 12’s top pitching staff with a combined ERA of 0.80 and are the conference’s second-best hitting team with an average of .331. Oklahoma State enters the series as the conference’s No. 5 pitching team with an ERA of 2.33 while sitting in last in batting with a team average of .216.
The Sooners are coming off a three-game series with Texas Tech that saw OU win two of three games while Oklahoma State took one of three games at Texas A&M in its last Big 12 series, March 30-April 1.
OU leads the Big 12 with 57 home runs and has five players with five home runs led by Big 12 leader Lauren Chamberlain with 19, just one shy of the OU single season record in the category. The freshman also leads the Big 12 in runs scored (40), runs batted in (53), total bases (106) and slugging percentage (.981).
In the circle, the Sooners are led by the one-two punch of Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne. The two rank second (0.82) and third (0.83), respectively, among Big 12 pitchers for ERA in all games while ranking second (0.80) and first (0.63), respectively, in conference only games. Ricketts ranks second nationally in shutouts (10) and hits allowed per seven innings (3.52) while ranking third in strikeouts (229) and fourth in ERA.
The Cowgirls are led by pitchers Kat Espinosa (10-7) and Simone Freeman (6-6) with ERAs of 2.07 and 2.35, respectively. At the plate, Tamara Brown leads the way as the only OSU player hitting above .300 with an average of .326. The Cowgirls have six home runs on the year with Taylor Woodall leading all players with two.
• Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have met 141 times with OU claiming the series lead, 71-70.
• In Stillwater, the Cowgirls hold a 35-24 series edge including the last two although OU has won 10 of the last 13.
• The Sooners won the first game of the series this year on March 28, 4-0, in Oklahoma City.
• OU won last year’s series, 2-1, with wins in Oklahoma City (7-0) and Norman (5-1) before losing in Stillwater (2-1)
• The third leg of Bedlam is scheduled for April 25 in Norman.
• Oklahoma travels to College Station, Texas this weekend for a three-game series with Texas A&M beginning Friday at 7 p.m.
GET OUTTA OF HERE
The Big 12 leader in home runs with 57, the Sooners have hit multiple home runs on 15 occasions this season and at least three in eight different games.
Oklahoma is undefeated in its 15 games with multiple home runs and have hit 13 in its seven Big 12 games. Six players have hit at least four home runs with freshman Lauren Chamberlain leading the way with a Big 12 leading 19.
The Oklahoma team single season record for home runs in a season is 85 set by the 2000 team while Lynette Velasquez (1999) and Lisa Carey are tied for the individual single season record with 20 home runs each.
THE SOONER STATE
Oklahoma is known as the Sooner State and with the March 28 win over Oklahoma State, the name applies in softball terms. In the 141st meeting between the two schools, the Sooners broke a series tie with a 4-0 win over the Cowgirls to earn a 71-70 edge in the series history that began on April 9, 1975, also a Sooner win.
The Sooners have won 19 of the last 22 games in the Bedlam battle. The two teams return to action next Wednesday, April 11 in Stillwater.
Oklahoma’s 17-game winning streak, its longest of the season and the longest since the 2003 squad won 18 straight, ended on March 25 in a 1-0 loss at Baylor. Under Patty Gasso, OU has 18 winning streaks of at least 10 games including three of at least 23 and six of at least 15 wins.
A quick look at winning streaks with at least 10 wins under Patty Gasso:
SCORING IN BUNCHES
During the 17-game winning streak, the Oklahoma team got it done at the plate and in the circle. Nothing illustrates that more than the fact the Sooners outscored their opponents 124-11 during the streak.
Seven of the last 19 games have been run-rule wins while OU has shutout 10 of the last 19 opponents with eight others scoring just one run each. In the last 20 games, OU has outscored its opponents 135-15.
The Sooners have only been held to one run or less on three occasions this season, all losses.
Oklahoma has registered at least seven hits in every game but six this season and have hit double digits in the category on eight different occasions including twice at the Judi Garman Classic with a season-high 19 hits against DePaul before collecting 18 against Virginia.
OU is 29-2 in the games it records at least seven hits with the only losses coming to Georgia when the Sooners out hit the Bulldogs, 7-4, but fell 3-2, and on April 6 when OU fell to Texas Tech, 5-4, despite collecting seven hits. Oklahoma has split the six games below seven hits.
GASSO HITS 1,000 WINS
Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso hit a major coaching milestone as she hit the 1,000-win mark as her No. 7 Sooners defeated Virginia, 9-1, at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. Gasso now stands at 849-274-2 at Oklahoma and 1,009-335-3.
Counting just NCAA Division I wins, Gasso entered the 2012 season 29th all time and has already moved up a spot to 28th.
HOME SWEET HOME
With its sweep of Kansas and a win in the first game of the Texas Tech series, Oklahoma extended its home winning streak to 13 games dating back to its final home game of last season.
Oklahoma has had eight home winning streaks of least 10 games, all under Patty Gasso. The Sooners record for consecutive wins is 45 as the Sooners did not drop a home game for two years, winning every game from April 14, 2000 to April 14, 2002. The longest home winning streak in a single season was 20 set by the 2007 OU squad as part of a 25-game winning streak.
RICKETTS SETS CAREER STRIKEOUTS RECORD
Keilani Ricketts needed just one appearance in the 2012 to capture the Oklahoma career strikeouts record. The junior pitcher entered the season with 798 strikeouts in her first two seasons and Norman and struck out 16 in her season debut versus UNLV to surpass the previous record of 805 set by Jill Most from 1994-97. Ricketts ended the opening weekend at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic with 36 strikeouts and 834 on her career.
With 229 strikeouts on the season, Ricketts now has 1,025 career strikeouts and is fourth in Big 12 history in the category (page 6). The junior is 127 strikeouts from moving up to third on the Big 12 career list. Cat Osterman of Texas (2002-03, 2005-06) holds the Big 12 career record in the category with 2,265 career strikeouts.
THE LAST TIME... March 28 - OU 4, OSU 0
Entering March 28’s first game of the Bedlam Series presented by Farm Bureau, No. 7 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were knotted squarely at 70 wins apiece in the 140-game series history. After yet another stellar pitching performance from junior pitcher Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma took the edge in the series history with a 4-0 win over Oklahoma State at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The win moved OU to 27-4 and 3-1 in the Big 12 while OSU fell to 16-13 and 1-3 in the Big 12. Oklahoma had seven hits to OSU’s one while leaving seven on base to OSU’s three.
Ricketts moved to 15-4 on the year as she pitched her fourth one hitter of the season while striking out 10 Cowgirls. Ricketts walked just one Oklahoma State batter a day after being named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season. Kat Espinosa took the loss for OSU to fall to 9-6. Espinosa gave up seven Oklahoma hits while walking three and striking out five.
After racking up four one hitters this season, Keilani Ricketts was due for a one hitter. Last Friday against Kansas, she did that and then some with her first career perfect game in OU’s 8-0 five-inning win.
Ricketts became eighth pitcher in Oklahoma history to accomplish the feat and joined classmate Michelle Gascoigne, who hit perfection last season against Appalachian State.
FIFTY FOUR STRAIGHT
When Kansas scored two runs on April 1, it marked the first time since OU’s 4-2 win over Iowa on March 4 that Keilani Ricketts had given up a run, a streak that lasted 54 straight innings.
In her last 10 starts, Ricketts has allowed just 39 hits and has struck out 81 batters.
RACKING UP THE Ks
Keilani Ricketts didn’t stop racking up the Ks after reaching the OU career plateau. After striking out 14 Baylor batters on March 23, the junior now has 13 double-digit strikeout games on the season.
Ricketts has racked up 50 career games with at least 10 strikeouts and has eight games with at least 15 strikeouts including one game this season, 16 at UNLV, and the school record, 19 last season versus Iona.
ONE AWAY FROM PERFECTION
Keilani Ricketts was just one out away from her first career perfect game against North Texas. Two straight walks were called for North Texas batters with two outs before Maddelyn Fraley’s single broke up Rickett’s no hitter in the bottom of the seventh.
The game was the first of four one hitters that Ricketts now has on the season.
Ricketts did it again in OU’s first game versus LSU, retiring the first 19 batters before giving up her only hit with one out in the seventh. Ricketts recorded her third one-hit game of the season in OU’s 14-0 five-inning win over Indiana on March 9 as the Hoosiers got one hit in the second.
OU’s win over Oklahoma State on March 28 gave Ricketts her fourth one hitter as the Cowgirls recorded their lone hit in the second inning. Ricketts returned to her one-hit ways last weekend against Texas Tech as she gave up just one hit in the game.
Pundits knew going into the season that OU had an ace in the circle with Keilani Ricketts. The question was if Ricketts would be the lone star in the circle.
With Ricketts and classmate Michelle “Gas Can” Gascoigne. who is 13-1 on the year, the Sooners have a one-two punch combination that rivals that of Manny Pacquiao. Gascoigne has given up just nine runs and 40 hits on the year in 75.2 innings of action of fire power.
Gascoigne leads all Big 12 pitchers in Big 12 games only with an ERA of 0.63, just ahead of Ricketts at No. 2 at 0.80.
Senior Kirsten Allen has proven a solid third option, throwing a one hitter against Austin Peay and striking out 17 in 14.1 innings of action for the season.
HUNTING FOR GOOSE EGGS
Nineteen times this season, Oklahoma has not allowed an opponent to score a run including five of its last 10 opponents. Eight of the 19 have come in five-inning run-rule victories. The other 11, however, have come in a full seven-inning contest.
Keilani Ricketts has pitched 10 of the 19 shutouts this season while Michelle Gascoigne has four and Kirsten Allen has one. Allen and Gascoigne have combined for four more shutouts.
Ricketts has 33 career shutouts, a number that ranks fifth in Oklahoma history and seventh in Big 12 history. The junior is just eight shutouts from capturing the Oklahoma record for the stat.
OU and OSU have had 10 common opponents this season. Oklahoma is 10-0 against teams both have faced while Oklahoma State is 5-5. A full chart of common opponents is below.
After going 2-1 in a home series against Texas Tech, OU fell one spot to No. 6 in the USA Today/NFCA poll while rising one spot to No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
In the NCAA’s RPI, the Sooners are currently in eighth with a record of 32-5.
BIG 12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Oklahoma has racked up seven Big 12 honors in five straight weeks as Keilani Ricketts was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on March 6 before Lauren Chamberlain was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on March 13. Georgia Casey and Ricketts swept the two awards on March 20. Ricketts added her third and fourth pitcher of the week honors on March 27 and April 3 and was joined by Chamberlain as an award winner on April 3.
Ricketts earned her first honor after going 4-0 with a save in a week including back-to-back one-hit games against North Texas and LSU. For the week, Ricketts had 54 strikeouts in 30.1 innings with an ERA of 0.46.
Chamberlain became the 81st Sooner to receive a Big 12 weekly honor after connecting on five home runs and 14 RBIs in 14 at bats while hitting at a .571 clip during a 6-0 week for the Sooners.
Casey helped lead a balanced effort for Oklahoma at the plate with a batting average of .429 while driving in a team-leading seven runs. The Australian had two home runs and finished the weekend with six hits, 13 total bases and a slugging percentage of .929.
Ricketts did not give up a single run while going 3-0 in two starts and on relief appearance in Fullerton, Calif., en route to her second honor. The junior struck out 24 batters in just 14 innings of work while allowing just one walk and six hits.
Ricketts became the first in Oklahoma history to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors three times in two different seasons on March 27 when she earned the honor after splitting her two starts at Baylor despite not giving up an earned run. Ricketts struck out 14 Baylor batters in her two appearances while walking just three.
Ricketts continued to add Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors with her fourth on April 3. It came after she went 3-0 in starts against Oklahoma State and Kansas while throwing her first career perfect game aginast KU. Ricketts struck out 26 batters in 19 innings of work in the week while allowing just one walk.
Chamberlain added her second honor of the season after extending her Big 12 lead with five home runs in three games against Kansas. The freshman led the Sooners with a .600 batting average over the week along with 11 RBIs and 21 total bases. Chamberlain had a slugging percentage of 2.100 while picking up three walks and being hit by a pitch in another at bat.
SAME OLD SHULTS
Jessica Shults missed the last six games of 2011 after undergoing treatment for pan-ulcerative colitis. The junior slugger showed to be back to form in Las Vegas as she led the Sooners with 11 hits. Shults batted .611 for the event with a double, a home run and six RBIs.
After a strong start to the season, Shults leads the team in batting with a .414 batting average and 46 hits.
The junior is second on the team with nine home runs and 80 total bases this season and now has 43 home runs for her career. That number is fifth all-time in Oklahoma history and 10th in the Big 12.
Shults needs just one more slam to move to fourth in OU history and seventh in Big 12 history. Amber Flories (2007-10) holds both the Oklahoma and Big 12 career marks in the category with 56 career home runs.
STARING DOWN THE CHAMBER
Just a freshman, Lauren Chamberlain certainly doesn’t act like it. The first-year power hitter leads the Big 12 with 19 home runs through 37 games to go along with 53 RBIs. A good eye has allowed Chamberlain to accumulate 18 walks as she has 42 hits and 40 runs scored on the season.
Chamberlain exploded with five home runs in three games against Kansas. The freshman picked up her second Big 12 Player of the Week honor after finishing the weekend with a .625 batting average as all five of her hits were home runs accounting for 10 RBIs. The Trabuco Canyon, Calif., native also picked up two walks and was hit by one pitch.
AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! OYE! OYE! OYE!
Oklahoma’s first ever international player, Georgia Casey from Australia, had been hampered this season by an ankle injury but made her debut in the starting lineup against Iowa.
After pinch hitting against LSU, she quickly made a presence in the OU lineup. After recording one hit in her first game, she blasted a two-run home run out of the OU Softball Complex in her second.
The Australian is second on the team with a .393 batting average and has smacked six home runs in 23 games.
If Brittany Williams said to you “Yo estoy desvelado,” you’d have to take her word for it because desvelado translated to English means watchful. The sophomore led the Big 12 as a freshman with 48 walks in 2011 and the watchful hitter is right back at it with 21 in 2012.
Williams is currently seventh in the Big 12 in walks this season and is joined on the Big 12 list by Keilani Ricketts who leads the Oklahoma team with 25 walks and an on-base percentage of .508.
WHO ARE YOU FACING?
Take a guess because in Oklahoma’s 37 games, the Sooners have used 28 different lineups. Only six lineups have been used more than once and those lineups are a combined 13-2.
Sixteen different players have gotten a start for the Sooners this year and two have started all 34 games - Lauren Chamberlain and Jessica Shults.
Thirteen different players have gotten starts at two positions with four different players starting at three different positions throughout the season.
ALLEN AT THE PLATE
Entering the 2012 season, senior Allee Allen had just seven at-bats in her career. Allen, who worked on her transformation at the plate over the offseason now has 53 at-bats in the season with a .264 batting average. The senior has 14 hits, two doubles, one home run and eight RBIs.
OU SWEEPS COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT NORMAN SPRING FESTIVAL
Oklahoma swept its own tournament, the Courtyard by Marriott Oklahoma Spring Festival in early March as it won both games against Wichita State and all three games against Indiana.
Three of the five wins were by run rule as OU outscored the schools, 48-2, in its five games.
Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso has been high on her freshman class of six since they signed with Oklahoma. If the opening weekend was any indication, they’ll be a major factor this season. Lauren Chamberlain provided a spark for the Sooners at the start of the lineup at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic, finishing the weekend with five hits, nine runs, one double. three home runs and eight RBI. Chamberlain was one of three freshmen to receive starts at the tournament as Erica Sampson (1) and Jessica Vest (3) did as well. Kelley Reeves and Callie Parsons both saw action as utility players while classmate Georgia Casey recovers from an ankle injury.
STARTING OFF PERFECT
Oklahoma’s 11-1 win over Kent State moved OU to 5-0 after the opening weekend which marked the ninth time under Patty Gasso that Oklahoma started off the season by winning its first five games and the first since her 2007 team won its first 23 games of the season.
OKLAHOMA ON THE TUBE
ESPN will air two home Oklahoma games the Big 12 Conference announced. The Sooners have become a favorite on TV as home games against Missouri (4/22) and Texas (5/6) will be shown on ESPN. In addition, the Sooner Sports Network will air every home game of the season beginning with the Texas Tech series that ESPN is not airing, a total of nine games, on Cox Channel 3 or 703 (HD) in Oklahoma.
Sooner Sports Network has already aired two games earlier this season as OU has had 44 games televised in the last five seasons.
GRAND SLAM PACK
The University of Oklahoma Athletics Ticket Office announced the “Grand Slam Pack” which gives Sooner softball fans the opportunity to pick any four games off each team’s schedule for a special low price.
Sooner softball fans can purchase any four contests of the 2012 slate for a low price of $28, a 30 percent discount off the normal reserved seating price.
SOONERS PICKED SECOND IN BIG 12
Coming off its sixth trip to the Women’s College World Series, Oklahoma was picked to finish second in the Big 12 in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches.
The Sooners led all nine Big 12 softball teams with four first-place votes and finished with 56 total points in the poll behind the 59 points of top-ranked Missouri.
RICKETTS, SHULTS NAMED TO POY WATCH LIST
Two members of the University of Oklahoma softball team were named to the USA Softball top 50 watch list for the 11th annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.
Juniors Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults, both returning All-Americans, were named to the pre-season watch list for the second consecutive year.
For five members of the Oklahoma program, the word offseason was all for naught as they were involved in international action for national teams.
Juniors Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults were part of the U.S. National Team that competed this summer with the duo winning the World Cup of Softball before Ricketts went on to help lead the U.S. to gold at the Pan American Games.
Sophomore Destinee Martinez and freshman Lauren Chamberlain were part of the U.S. Junior National Team that won gold at the 2011 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in South Africa in December. Along the way, their team defeated the Australian Junior National Team and it’s pitcher, Oklahoma freshman Georgia Casey.
SOONERS ANNOUNCE SIGNING CLASS
Fresh off the program’s sixth Women’s College World Series appearance, Oklahoma softball head coach Patty Gasso announced the signing of seven student-athletes, all from Oklahoma, to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. Taylor Dewbery (McAlester, Okla.), Whitney Ellis (Yukon, Okla.), Erin Miller (Tulsa, Okla.), Leslie Miller (Blanchard, Okla.), Kady Self (Edmond, Okla.), Jules Townsend (Tulsa, Okla.) and Paris Townsend (Tulsa, Okla.) will all join the Oklahoma softball program beginning with the 2012-13 season.
Five of the seven athletes, Dewbery, Ellis, Erin Miller, Leslie Miller and Self, all played their high school softball in the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) as all five have earned Oklahoma All-State honors in their careers with a combined four state titles. The two who did not, Jules and Paris Townsend, played at Holland Hall where Jules was a three-time Southwest Prepatory Conference Most Valuable Player and Paris was a two-time SPC Offensive Player of the Year.
The group encompasses several positions and provides Gasso with both pitching prowess and a number of powerful bats. Dewbery, Leslie Miller and Jules Townsend all have experience in the circle while Ellis is considered one of the best catchers in the nation. Erin Miller and Self both have the athleticism to cover the outfield while Paris Townsend is an athlete who has covered catcher, shortstop and the outfield for high school and summer clubs.