WACO, Texas – Already known as one of the nation’s top pitchers, Keilani Ricketts used her bat along with her arm to extend No. 7 Oklahoma’s winning streak to 16 games as it opened Big 12 play with a 2-0 win against No. 15 Baylor Friday. The junior pitcher moved to 14-3 in the circle while bringing in the first run of the game, a solo home run in the top of the seventh.
With the win, Oklahoma improved to 25-3 while Baylor fell to 21-7.
Ricketts struck out 14 Baylor batters for her 10th game of the season with at least 10 strikeouts while holding the Bears to just four hits as Oklahoma moved to 12-5 all time in Big 12 openers. Friday’s game marked the first Big 12 opener against Baylor for the Sooners as OU increased its overall series lead against the Bears to 42-9.
Ricketts sent a 2-0 pitch with one out in the top of the seventh over the right-center field fence of Getterman Stadium for her seventh home run of the season and her first since OU’s win against Indiana on March 11.
“Today was probably one of the more competitive games that I’ve seen Keilani Ricketts participate in. She was clutch with big strikeouts when she needed it and she won the game herself at the plate. What more could you ask for?” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “She’s the type of athlete that fans should want to watch. It’s special for me in that I’m lucky enough to see her play ever day.”
The Sooners added an insurance run after Georgia Casey hit a shot just past the glove of Baylor center fielder Kathy Shelton that gave the Australian her fourth double of the season. After Casey was replaced by fellow freshman Erica Sampson on the base path, Baylor catcher Clare Hosack allowed a passed ball that sent Sampson to third before OU had runners on the corners after Brittany Williams reached via a walk. A throwing error by Hosack on an attempted pick off gave Sampson enough time to beat a throw home from left field for the Sooners’ second and final run of the game.
“We had clutch base running today as well. I was very proud of the way Erica Sampson came off the bench and gave our a team the type of spark on the base paths that you need against a scrappy team like Baylor,” Gasso said.
Baylor was the first team to get a runner to second base in the bottom of the sixth as Hosack led off the inning with a double to right center. With a runner in scoring position and no outs, Ricketts threw back-to-back strikeouts to Kayce Walker and Shelton before intentionally walking Megan Turk and closing out the inning with a third strikeout to Shelbi Redfearn.
The Bears threatened again in the bottom of the seventh when Kelsi Kettler led off with a single to second base and advanced to second on a ground out from Jordan Strickland. After Kettler stole third, Ricketts ended the game with a strikeout of Sydney Wilson.