Oklahoma tops defending champs
Sooners advance to championship series behind Rickett's 13 Ks
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Home-crowd favorite Oklahoma will play for the Women's College World Series championship beginning on Monday night, thanks to a 5-3 victory against Arizona State on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners (53-8) will play one of the tournament's top-two seeds, either No. 1 Cal or No. 2 Alabama in the best-of-three series.
Arizona State concludes its season with a record of 53-11.
Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts was virtually unhittable on Friday night against California, but Arizona State was able to get their bats working early on Sunday. Alix Johnson drew a one-out walk and went to second on an Amber Freeman single through the left side. Annie Lockwood then doubled to right field, scoring both runners, and took third base on an errant relay throw to the plate. Ricketts recorded all three outs in the inning via strikeouts, but trailed 2-0 after the top of the first inning.
Designated player Katie Norris got the Sooners on the board in the bottom of the second with her fifth home run of the season. The ball slipped just over the centerfield fence and eluded the glove of centerfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio to make the score 2-1.
|WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES|
June 3 Highlights
Oklahoma 5, Arizona State 3
Getting to Know
• LSU | UC | USF | OU | UO | ASU | UT | UA
• Alabama stands tall at WCWS
• Oklahoma's powerful punch
• LSU’s long, winding road
• Two better than one for Bears
• How a Kiwi changed the Ducks
• Bulls following plan to the letter
• Previewing the Women's College World Series
The Sooners bats came up big in the bottom of the third inning. Third baseman Javen Henson led off with a single to right and would advance a base on a single from Destinee Martinez. Ricketts then connected on a two-out double, scoring Henson to tie the game. Jessica Shults followed with a two-run double to right, giving the Sooners the lead.
Katie Norris then appeared to have popped out to end the inning, but ASU third baseman Haley Steele lost the high popup in the overcast sky, and it dropped just to her left, allowing Shults to score. The Sun Devils were able to end the inning on the following batter, but the damage was done and OU led 5-2 after three innings of play.
Arizona State chipped away at Oklahoma's lead beginning the next half-inning. Caporuscio put a one-out single into left, went to second on a wild pitch, third on a Talor Haro single and scored on a fielders choice hit by Katelyn Boyd to make the score 5-3.
“I think that was one of the toughest games I’ve ever been a part of,” said OU head coach Patty Gasso. “Keilani came out just trying to find the strike zone a bit and then really got connected and started to compete.”
Despite her shaky start, Ricketts (35-7) managed through her remaining base runners down the stretch. The lefty finished with 13 strikeouts, including the final three batters of the game, allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks.
Offensively, Destinee Martinez went three-for-three on the day with a run scored. Shults went 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double. OU's nine hits came from six different players on the day.
- Oklahoma is the nation's top home run hitting team with 98 homers on the season. The Sooners added one to their total on Sunday with a second inning solo shot by Katie Norris, her fifth of the season.
This is Oklahoma's second appearance in the NCAA Championship series/game. The Sooners previous appearance came in their first-ever WCWS appearance as the program won the 2000 NCAA championship.
- Arizona State’s three runs today were the most Oklahoma has allowed in a postseason game this season. All three were earned, and therefore were the first earned runs Ricketts had allowed in her previous 40 innings.
ASU pitcher Dallas Escobedo suffered just her third career postseason loss. She is now 14-3 in her career postseason play. She finished the season 24-8