Ricketts tosses fourth no-hitter of season as No. 1 Oklahoma routs Iowa State 12-0
NORMAN, Okla. -- Senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts set a pair of school records as she no-hit Iowa State on Sunday in a 12-0, five-inning win for the No. 1 Oklahoma (43-3, 11-1 Big 12).
For Ricketts, it was her fifth career no-hitter and fourth of the season, breaking ties in each category with former Sooners pitcher Lauren Eckermann. Ricketts struck out 10 and walked two with one hit batter as she improved to 24-1 on the year.
"It feels good, obviously," Ricketts said. "I definitely wouldn't have been able to do it without feeding off of my teammates. I was able to get confidence off the way we were playing this weekend, and that really helped my focus."
In addition to Sunday's no-hitter, Ricketts also accomplished the feat against No. 21 Stanford on Feb. 8, No. 5 Oregon on Feb. 9 and at Texas Tech on April 14. Last season, she threw a perfect game against Kansas on March 30.
Ricketts set the Cyclones (19-29, 4-11) down in order in the first and, after walking the leadoff batter, struck out the side in the second. She picked up two more strikeouts in the second before getting some help from left-fielder Erin Miller in the fourth.
With one out and one on, Lexi Slater lifted a fly to shallow left field. Miller raced in and made a nice, sliding basket catch to keep the no-hitter intact. Ricketts closed out the fourth by fielding a comebacker and then ended the game in the fifth with another comebacker and a pair of swinging strikeouts.
In seven innings of work this weekend, Ricketts did not allow a hit and she struck out 14 batters.
"I think I was just really focusing on keeping control of my pitches and making good pitches for every at-bat," she said of her performance on the weekend. "I know that Iowa State has been putting up lots of runs on people, and I know Game 3 is usually a lot tougher to limit their hits."
The no-hitter capped off a dominant weekend for Oklahoma as it swept Iowa State by a combined score of 44-1. All three games ended in the fifth inning, marking the first time in program history that OU won three games in a row within Big 12 play via the run rule.
"I feel like we are starting to play some really good softball," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "We came out every game just really bringing it. We're hitting through the lineup, turning it over in the first inning. I feel like we are all on the same page. Everyone is really starting to get their game.
"I think Keilani on the mound is getting her game; I think at Texas I felt that for sure and this weekend. She is really starting to come to the place where she wants to be at the right time. Looking through the lineup where you've got Lauren [Chamberlain] with two hits, Georgia [Casey] with two hits, Shelby [Pendley] with two hits, Keilani with two hits, Destinee [Martinez] with two hits, Brianna [Turang] with a hit, Callie [Parsons] with a hit. Those who didn't hit got walks. Everybody is contributing."
Like they had done all weekend, the Sooners struck early. With a seven-run first inning Sunday, OU upped its scoring margin in the series to 21-0 in the game's opening frame.
Chamberlain led off the game with a double to left-center and came home two pitches later when Casey singled to right field. After a steal of second, Casey made it 2-0 when Pendley doubled to the corner in left field.
A single from Ricketts moved Pendley to third. Ricketts then stole third, while two batters Martinez sent a chopper back up the middle to put the Sooners on top 4-0. Parsons moved Martinez to third with a single through the right side, while Turang's infield single brought Martinez the final 60 feet and made the score 5-0.
Chamberlain came up for the second time in the inning and launched her second double of the game to clear the bases and give the Sooners a 7-0 lead.
The Sooners padded their lead with a four-run second inning. In the series, OU scored 39 of its 44 runs within the first two innings.
Pendley got things started with a single up the middle, setting the stage for Ricketts to launch a two-run home run to right field. It was her 11th of the season and 46th of her career, tying her for fifth on OU's career list and 10th in Big 12 history.
Later in the inning, Chamberlain walked with the bases loaded to make it 10-0, while Casey singled to center field to bring the score to 11-0.
Oklahoma got its final run in the fourth when Jessica Vest singled to right field to drive home Erica Sampson, who had walked and taken second on a fielder's choice.
Tori Torrescano set a school walks record for Iowa State. With walks from Torrescano and Erica Miller, the 2013 Cyclones have walked more (149) than any other team in program history.
Iowa State Athletics contributed to this report.