OU Softball: Sooners only suffer one loss over the weekend
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
Chilly temperatures did not keep Sooner fans away from Marita Hynes Field to support the No. 1 Oklahoma softball team during the home-opening weekend.
After three straight weekends on the West Coast, the Sooners (18-1) were able to play in the friendly confines of their Norman home.
The OU faithful witnessed the Sooners win three of four games during the three-day span.
“It was an awesome feeling to see all the support we have,” senior catcher Jessica Shults said.
“There’s nothing better for these guys than to play in a stadium full of people, whether it’s home or even away,” coach Patty Gasso said.
The lone loss of the weekend – and the season – came in game two of the double-header Saturday against No. 25 Nebraska, 1-0. The streak of 17 consecutive victories ended, but marked the second-best start in Oklahoma history.
Senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne started the game for OU and allowed only one run on two hits to the Cornhusker lineup. The lone score proved to be all Nebraska (13-5) needed to upset the top-ranked Sooners squad.
“It definitely stung a little bit, but it taught us a lot of things,” Shults said. “It taught us that anybody can beat us on any given day, and we have to come out with our best stuff every day.”
“This team believed they could go 65-0,” Gasso said. “There’s not a team in the country that’s going to go undefeated, and if there were it would be these guys.”
Oklahoma managed seven hits in the contest but was unable to generate run support for Gascoigne, stranding 10 base runners. Scoring was not a problem in the previous matchup.
In game one of the two-game set, runs came easily for the Sooners. OU defeated the Cornhuskers, 10-3, after breaking the game open with seven runs in the fifth inning.
The four-game weekend also included two wins over a scrappy Houston squad. The Cougars (10-7) ultimately dropped both games to OU — 6-0, 4-1.
Oklahoma’s pitching duo of Gascoigne and senior Keilani Ricketts combined to allow only four runs over the course of four games. Nevertheless, it was clear that Ricketts did not have her usual command.
“She was a little bit off this weekend,” Gasso said. “She tries too hard sometimes to be on her game.”
Ricketts and the whole Oklahoma squad appeared to have been pressing too hard in a quest to remain perfect. There were, however, many bright spots – including junior Brittany Williams.
Williams shone through during the home opening weekend. She collected four RBI and was reliable in the outfield. Before Sunday’s matchup, she came in hitting .341 and now has 13 RBI on the season.
“I’m pretty confident at the plate right now,” Williams said. “I’m trying to find my pitch and not swinging at the pitcher’s pitch.”
The Sooners will be home again next weekend and Gasso expects another large crowd of Oklahoma supporters.
“I think people are recognizing what we did last year, and what we’re capable of doing this season,” she said. “They don’t want to miss it.”