Oklahoma holds off Missouri
Ricketts strikes out 11 to lead Sooners past 10th-ranked Tigers
NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 5 Oklahoma captured its sixth Big 12 series in as many tries with a 2-1 win against No. 10 Missouri on a breezy Sunday afternoon. Keilani Ricketts breezed through the Tiger lineup with 11 strikeouts as the Sooners took two of three games from the Tigers over the weekend to move to 38-7 and extend its Big 12 leading record to 13-4. Missouri fell to 34-10 on the year and 11-7 in the Big 12.
The Sooners scored one run in each of the first two innings before Missouri got its first run in the third when Oklahoma committed two of its three errors on the day. OU moved to 33-1 when it scores first and 17-1 when scoring in the first inning after falling Saturday night, 4-2, in eight innings after accomplishing the two feats. The Sooners won the series’ first game 2-1 in 10 innings on Friday.
In another battle of two pitchers from the U.S. Softball National Team, it was Ricketts who was again victorious when she and Chelsea Thomas both started in the circle. The junior threw 122 total pitches, her season high in just seven innings and second highest behind the 157 in Friday’s 10-inning win, to strike out 11 while allowing just four hits and walking one to move to 23-6 on the year. Thomas fell to 17-7 after allowing four hits, walking two and striking out four. Ricketts finished the weekend with 314 pitches.
“We want to be in a position to win the Big 12 Championship. We still have a rough road ahead of us so it was very important that we win at least two of three this weekend,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said. “It was a fantastic weekend of softball and our players really fed off this great home atmosphere. Keilani did a great job at not paying attention to things that were out of her control. She made some big time clutch pitches and did some big time things out there today.”
For the second consecutive day, OU jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Destinee Martinez led off with a single through the left side of the Missouri defense. After stealing her 13th base of the season, Martinez sprinted home when Ricketts produced a single through the right side of the Tiger infield.
Oklahoma added its second run of the day in the second inning after Jessica Shults laced her seventh double of the season into right center before being replaced on the base path by Callie Parsons. A single up the middle from Brianna Turang put Oklahoma runners on the corners for Javen Henson who drove in her 24th RBI of the season with a short infield hit.
Missouri’s lone run came in the third inning by the way of two of Oklahoma’s three errors on the day. Corrin Genovese reached second after Turang was unable to come up with a fly ball to right before she advanced to third on a wild pitch from Ricketts. An RBI single from Mackenzie Sykes brought in Genovese for Mizzou’s lone run of the day.