Sooners sweep Cyclones off the field in three-game series in Norman
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The Sooner faithful packed Marita Hynes Field all weekend to see No. 1 Oklahoma take on Iowa State, but a medley of lopsided results emptied the seats earlier than expected, as OU easily quelled the Cyclones.
Oklahoma (43-3, 11-1 Big 12) run-ruled Iowa State (19-29, 4-11 Big 12) in all three contests en route to the series sweep. The trio of wins maintained the Sooners’ spot atop the conference standings and was their third sweep in Big 12 play.
Before the series began, coach Patty Gasso urged her team to “set the tone early,” and the squad responded without a hint of hesitation.
“We came out every day just really bringing it,” Gasso said. “I feel like we’re all on the same page and everybody’s starting to get their game.”
Friday’s contest foreshadowed how the series would play out. The Iowa State pitchers struggled to find the strike zone, while the OU lineup was quick to take advantage of any miscues.
While the Sooner pitchers were nearly flawless all weekend, it was the OU lineup that lit up the left-field scoreboard.
After the first two innings of the series, the nation’s top-ranked team led 23-0. The Sooners followed what would end up as a 24-1 victory by blanking the Cyclones on Saturday, 8-0. Another shutout victory, 12-0, on Sunday completed the trifecta.
The offensive onslaught led to a number of storylines for the Sooners. The Sooners set a team record of 24 runs in a game. Outscoring Iowa State by a total of 39-0 in the first two innings of the three matchups. And sophomore Kelley Reeves hit her first career home run — a grand slam.
But no player matched the performance of sophomore Shelby Pendley. The infielder recorded six hits, 13 RBIs and two home runs during the series. Pendley attributed her success to “seeing the ball well.”
“Shelby puts in the work,” Gasso said. “Am I out here shocked? Absolutely not. Everything she’s getting is well deserved because she absolutely is a workhorse at practice.”
As an encore performance on Sunday, senior Keilani Ricketts was at her best in the circle. The hard-throwing lefty tossed her fourth no-hitter of the season, 0the fifth of her career. Both marks set school records. She struck out 10 Cyclone batters and allowed only two base runners in the run-rule victory.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without feeding off my teammates,” Ricketts said. “I was able to get confidence off the way we’ve been playing this weekend. That really helped me.”
After earning win No. 43 this season, Gasso said her team is starting to play good softball. The coach rattled off a lengthy list of players who performed well in the series and said her lineup’s goal is to “hand the torch over”.
“It’s just a fun lineup to be a part of,” sophomore Lauren Chamberlain said after going 2-2 with three RBIs on Sunday. “I get excited when I’m in the dugout and I’m watching my teammates play. I’m witnessing greatness; it’s pretty cool.”