Oklahoma rallies, takes series again
Sooners get homers from Ricketts, Shults to spark big frame
NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 4 Oklahoma came back from a 2-0 hole for the second consecutive game against No. 8 Texas on Saturday as it claimed a 9-3 win to take the series, its seventh Big 12 series win this season. Saturday’s win moved OU to 42-7 and 16-4 in the Big 12 while Texas fell to 40-10 and 14-8 in the Big 12 to drop to third. Missouri moved into second in the Big 12 Conference race.
Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults both hit home runs to spark a six-run third inning for the Sooners as OU bounced back from back-to-back UT solo home runs in the second inning. The Sooners added three runs in the fifth inning before Texas posted a single run in the seventh inning. With the two home runs, OU hit multiple home runs for the 21st time this season, moving to 20-1 when doing so.
Michelle Gascoigne got the start for the Sooners and went four innings for the Sooners, picking up the win to move to 15-1 on the year, as she finished with four strikeouts while giving up seven hits, two runs and one walk. Ricketts entered the circle in the fifth and proved that she’s crafty by claiming her second save of the season, pitching three innings, striking out three while giving up one hit, one walk and one run.
“It was a real team effort today. I felt us exhale and feel at ease,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “The goal here is to get the sweep. We got the series win and that is great, but the goal this weekend is the sweep.”
Texas scored first for the second consecutive day as Courtney Craig and Karina Scott hit back-to-back home runs to left center and right field. UT became just the third team this season to hit multiple home runs against the Sooners.
The Sooners answered in the bottom of the third as they batted around the order to put together six runs off two hits, two errors, two walks and two batters hit by pitches to take its first lead of the day. Jessica Shults led things off as she was hit by the third pitch she faced before being replaced on the base path by Callie Parsons. Georgia Casey walked to put two runners on for freshman Erica Sampson who sent a single through the left side of the Texas’ defense to score Parsons and put Casey on third.
Some ill communication in the Texas infield allowed Brianna Turang to reach via an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt that sent Sampson to third and Casey home. After a UT pitching change, Jessica Vest was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Katie Norris walked to bring home Sampson for the third OU run of the inning. After a fielder’s choice put Destinee Martinez on first and Turang out at home for a second Oklahoma out, Ricketts cleared the bases with a double to center field that put OU up 6-2 after three innings.
The fifth inning saw Lauren Chamberlain lead off with a single before Ricketts sent her 14th home run of the season over the left center field fence of Marita Hynes Field. Not to be outdone, Shults followed Ricketts to the plate and sent a sure shot over the right field fence for her 14th homer of the year. Shults’ shot was the 48th of her career placing her in a tie for second on the OU career home runs chart and third on the Big 12’s career list.
• Big weekend on tap for top teams