Oklahoma sweeps past Arizona
Sooners clinch program's sixth WCWS berth with victory
TUCSON, Ariz. – Oklahoma got another brilliant performance from Keilani Ricketts and the top of the order drove in all five runs as the ninth-seeded Sooners (43-17) downed eighth-seeded Arizona 5-2 for a second consecutive day. With the win Oklahoma advances to its sixth Women’s College World Series and first since 2004.
Ricketts also got it done with the bat, driving in OU’s first two runs via a home run. She also drew a walk later in the game. In the circle, she threw her second complete game in as many days, holding Arizona to two earned runs on seven hits. Ricketts struck out seven to move her single season total to 443.
The Wildcats got a leadoff single from Lauren Schutzler to start the game and Brittany Lastrapes sacrificed her at-bat to advance Schutzler to second. After Schutzler moved to third on a wild pitch, Bridgette Del Ponte fouled out to first and Stacie Chambers grounded out to end the inning with a runner in scoring position.
Brianna Turang kept her hot streak alive, reaching on a one-out single and advancing to second a fielding error to give the Sooners a baserunner in scoring position in the bottom half. After Fowler’s first strikeout of the game, Ricketts made the most of her first at-bat, launching her second home run in as many days to give Oklahoma a 2-0 lead.
Arizona put the pressure on in the second but Oklahoma’s defense kept the Wildcats in check and off the board. Lini Koria led off with a walk and was retired on a fielder’s choice by Kristin Arriola. Arriola was also thrown out via the fielder’s choice by Karissa Buchanan. Alex Lavine singled to center to give the Wildcats to runners on board, but Matte Haack struck out to end the inning.
After Chana’e Jones reached on a leadoff single in the second and advanced on a sacrifice bunt, the Sooners were unable to bring her around as the 2-0 score held.
Arizona loaded the bases in the third after Del Ponte and Chambers reached on back-to-back two-out singles. The Wildcats loaded the bases when Koria was awarded ball four when Ricketts took too long to deliver the pitch but Arriola popped up to leave the bases loaded.
Haley Nix got a two-out double off the wall in center and the Wildcats intentionally walked Ricketts and both were left on base to end the third.
Arizona continued to apply the pressure in the top of the fourth as Buchanan singled and stole second before moving to third when Schutzler reached on an error. Ricketts struck out Becca Tikey to end the inning.
The Sooners tacked on three more runs in the fourth. Jones reached on a bloop single and Dani Dobbs drew a walk before Cierra Hughes’ single loaded the bases for the Sooners. Destinee Martinez came through with a single down the left field line to score Jones and Dobbs and Hughes came in to score when Turang reached on an error.
Arizona had another opportunity to score in the top of the sixth as Arriola reached on a single and Lavine was hit by a pitch. Arriola took third on a passed ball as the Wildcats put runners at the corners with one out. Ricketts responded to the threat, striking out pinch hitter Nicole Bryan and Schutzler to end the inning.
After giving up a leadoff walk to Turang in the sixth, Fowler retired the Sooners in order to give the Wildcats a final chance to force the “if necessary” third game.
Tikey reached on a hit by pitch and was forced out a second on a Del Ponte fielder’s choice. Chambers then reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Del Ponte thrown out at second as the Wildcats faced its final out. Koria then prolonged the game by recording Arizona’s first extra-base hit of the Super Regional, a two-run home run to right field to score pinch runner Jordy Clifton and herself. With a two-out rally still effect, Arriola singled to keep the Wildcats’ season alive but Buchanan grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Arriola led the Wildcats with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate. Koria’s only hit of the afternoon was the two-run shot in the seventh. Arizona stranded 11 runners on bases during the game and left 22 on during the two-game series. The Wildcats were 0-for18 during the series with runners in scoring position.
Jones ended the game a perfect 2-for-2 with a run scored. Jones led the team with a .800 batting average in the series (4-for-5). Hughes registered a 2-for-3 day with one run scored. In two games at designated player, Hughes hit .500.
Ricketts produced a 1.333 slugging percentage in her six at-bats, hitting .333 for the weekend. She had a 1.00 earned run average, allowing two earned runs on 15 hits and four walks. She struck out 20.