Ricketts leads Sooners to sweep
OU offense paces 18-1 rout of DePaul; Michigan blanked 2-0
FULLERTON, Calif. -- No. 7 Oklahoma entered the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday with a record of 20-3 and riding an 11-game winning streak. If there was one chink in the Sooners’ armor, it was their record against ranked teams -- 0-3 on the season. That changed Thursday in Fullerton, Calif., however, as OU run-ruled No. 24 DePaul 18-1 in five innings in its largest ever win against a ranked opponent before winning 2-0 against No. 19 Michigan.
The wins increased Oklahoma’s win streak to 13 games, just the sixth time an OU team under head coach Patty Gasso has won at least 13 in a row and the longest win streak since the 2010 squad won 15 consecutive.
Besides being the largest win against a ranked team, OU’s win against DePaul was also OU’s largest win of the season and the largest since defeating Arkansas 21-2 on May 16, 2009. The game also marked OU’s fifth run-rule victory in its past seven games.
The Sooners also continued their recent offensive explosion; they have now outscored their last eight opponents 76-3. OU collected a season-high 19 hits against the Blue Demons in the tournament opener.
Keilani Ricketts got the win for OU in both games and moved to 12-3 on the year. The junior pitched just three innings against DePaul but struck out seven of the 11 batters she faced before giving way to Michelle Gascoigne and Kirsten Allen for one inning each. Against Michigan, Ricketts went the distance for her seventh shutout of the season. She struck out nine Michigan batters while allowing just four hits.
The Sooners got off to a quick start in the first inning as four of Oklahoma’s first five batters safely reached base. With one out, Jessica Shults got the hit train started with a single through DePaul’s right side before Ricketts followed with a single to right field. After a throw to third by DePaul right fielder Katelyn Braget was off target, Shults trotted home for OU’s first run as Ricketts ended up on second.
Georgia Casey continued her hot start with a double to right center that scored Ricketts before a Lauren Chamberlain single to the same spot scored Casey and quickly put the Sooners up 3-0.
OU erupted for six runs in the bottom of the second as leadoff batter Javen Henson was hit by a pitch before Destinee Martinez laid down a successful bunt to put two runners on. Shults followed with a single to short to load the bases before Ricketts recorded her second hit of the game with a single to right to put OU’s fourth run on the board as Henson headed home.
A Casey single to left scored a fifth Oklahoma run with Martinez crossing the plate before Chamberlain sent her 10th home run of the season, and her first collegiate grand slam, sailing over the center field fence at Anderson Family Field for a 9-0 OU lead.
Oklahoma continued its offensive explosion in the third inning with eight runs on seven hits. Henson led off with a single to short followed by a Martinez single to the DePaul pitcher. With two runners on and no outs, Shults sent a double to left center to score Henson and move Martinez to third. OU had back-to-back doubles as Ricketts sent one to right center to score both Martinez and Shults.
The Sooners scored their next five runs on two outs after a Casey pop up in foul territory and a Chamberlain grounder to second that sent Callie Parsons, pinch running for Ricketts to third. An Ali Vandever single through the left side scored Parsons before the bases were loaded by a Kelley Reeves single and Erica Sampson getting hit by a pitch. Katie Norris walked to score Vandever before Martinez got her second hit of the inning with a single up the middle to score Reeves. A Shults walk sent Sampson home before the Sooners scored their final run of the inning on a wild pitch that sent Henson, who had reentered for Norris, home.
DePaul picked up its lone run of the game in the top of the fourth as Katelyn Braget hit a two-out solo shot to center off Gascoigne in relief.
Oklahoma countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth when Casey and Chamberlain hit back-to-back singles to lead off before the bases were loaded by an error from DePaul first baseman Kirsten Verdun. Brianna Turang picked up an RBI with a grounder to second that scored Casey for OU’s 18th and final run of the game.
After hitting a grand slam in the day’s earlier game, Chamberlain hit her 11th home run of the season to get the Sooners on the board first in the nightcap against Michigan. The freshman from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., sent a shot that landed amid the palm trees outside the Anderson Family Field left field fence.
The Sooners got their second run in the sixth inning as back-to-back Michigan errors put Casey and Chamberlain on base. After Casey replaced on the base path by Parsons, the pinch runner and Chamberlain both advanced a base on a wild pitch. Parsons was thrown out at the plate on a Turang fielder’s choice but one at bat later saw Katie Norris single through the left side of the Michigan infield to score Chamberlain.