OU Completes Sweep Of Baylor
Senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts already held numerous school records in her illustrious career with the Sooners, but she added to her stellar resume on Sunday by becoming the winningest pitcher in the history of Oklahoma softball.
Ricketts earned career win No. 116, passing former Sooner Jennifer Stewart, as No. 1 Oklahoma (34-2, 3-0) finished off a three-game sweep of No. 18 Baylor (29-10, 3-5) with an 8-0, six-inning. Ricketts' career record now stands at 116-35, while her season mark is 18-1.
Perfect through three innings against the Bears, Ricketts allowed only four hits in the game while striking out five and walking one. It was the 12th shutout of her season and the 50th of her career.
After cruising through the Baylor lineup once, Ricketts relied on her defense to get out of mini-jams in the final three innings.
A two-out walk in the fourth was followed by a double but Ricketts got Jordan Strickland to ground out to sophomore Jessica Vest at shortstop.
In the fifth, Kelsi Kettler hit a one-out double, but the next two batters each grounded out to sophomore Shelby Pendley at third base to keep the Bears off the board.
Ricketts got two strikeouts to start the sixth inning, but Baylor responded with back-to-back singles. Once again, the left side of the infield came through to stop the threat as Strickland grounded to Vest who flipped to Pendley at third to get the force.
The defense shined for Oklahoma, but so did the offense as it registered its 14th run-rule win of the season. The offensive output came against a Baylor pitching staff that entered the weekend with the seventh-best earned run average in the country at 1.45.
All told, the Sooners outscored the Bears 25-6 in the three-game series and raised BU's ERA to 1.79. Baylor had allowed eight runs in a game just once this season, in the second game of the year, but OU scored at least eight runs in each game of the series.
Pendley launched her 10th home run of the season, a solo shot to right field, in the bottom of the first inning.
The lead doubled for Oklahoma in the third as junior Brittany Williams walked with the bases loaded.
In the fourth inning, senior Brianna Turang singled through the right side and stole second with one out. Two batters later, sophomore Georgia Casey, who matched a career high with three hits, singled off the wall in left center to make it 3-0 Sooners.
A five-run sixth inning closed out the win.
Turang led things off with a single to left field. Lauren Chamberlain followed with an opposite field homer on a 3-2 pitch for her 18th home run of the season and 48th of her career.
The Sooners weren't done in the inning, though, because Casey followed Chamberlain with a double to left center. Casey took third on a passed ball as Pendley walked and then scored on a wild pitch to put Oklahoma up 6-0.
Back-to-back walks for senior Jessica Shults and Ricketts loaded the bases and sophomore Callie Parsons ended the game with a two-run single to left center.
Oklahoma returns to action this Wednesday with a single contest against North Texas.
TU Loses First Conference Game Of Season
Julie Kernen hit her fourth home run of the season, but Tulsa dropped its first Conference USA game of the year, 6-4, at East Carolina in the series finale Sunday afternoon at ECU Softball Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (31-9-1, 11-1 C-USA) scored all four of its runs in the final three innings, but the effort proved to be too little too late. The Pirates (15-24, 5-7 C-USA) scored the first six runs of the game, including a three-run home run in the first inning. Lacey Middlebrooks (13-3) allowed four earned runs on three hits in 3.2 innings to take the loss. ECU starter Courtney Smith (3-10) allowed three runs on four hits in 5.0 innings to pick up the win.
"Pitching was off and we didn't start having focused at bats until the last three innings," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "We dug ourselves a hole and could not get out of it. Julie hit a rocket, and we saw some positive contributions. We always talk about the four phases, and a couple of them were only there for half the game. I think it shows it all when they scored six runs on four hits."
The Golden Hurricane returns to action next weekend, April 13-14, when it plays host to UAB (24-8, 11-1 C-USA) for a three-game league series at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
OSU Falls To Iowa State
The Cowgirls led 2-0 after the first inning and 4-0 after the top half of the second thanks to five hits and four walks. However, Iowa State tied the game in the bottom on three hits and an error. Shelby Davis led off the top of the third with a base hit, and after two groundouts advanced her to third, she scored on a wild pitch. Maddie Reese tied the game at 5-5 when she led off the bottom of the inning with her second home run of the weekend.
Pitching and the defense fell apart in the bottom of the fourth for OSU. Three hits and three walks, along with an error and a missed opportunity during a rundown between third and home, led to four Cyclone runs, giving ISU its first lead of the game, 9-5.
The Cowgirls cut the lead in half in the top of the sixth on four hits, including back-to-back doubles by Tarah Ettinger and Samantha Chrisman. However, Tori Torrescano got the final two outs to end the threat and OSU lost 9-7.
Cowgirl freshman Tiffany Mikkelson went 2-for-3 with four runs batted in, while Chrisman went 3-for-4. Tamara Brown went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Senior Kat Espinosa threw a complete game for OSU, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits and five walks while striking out four.
Oklahoma State (24-17 overall, 2-4 Big 12) will go outside conference play this week as the Cowgirls host Wichita State on Wednesday, April 10, at 7 pm at the Cowgirl Softball Complex.