OU Softball: Sooners on winning streak
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
Deep balls flew out of Marita Hynes Field all weekend for the Sooners, as the No. 1 OU softball team breezed through its competition, winning four games in two days.
A pair of double-headers on Friday and Saturday pitted Oklahoma (22-1) against Northern Colorado and Drake. Those four contests all ended in run-rule blowout victories for the top-ranked Sooners.
Oklahoma blanked Northern Colorado — 14-0, 10-0 — and knocked off Drake – 10-2, 13-0. The weekend margin of victory totaled 47-2, and coach Patty Gasso was pleased with her team’s play.
“I really liked what we did,” she said. “It was the old Sooners that came back and came alive.”
Power hitting was the key to OU’s success over the weekend. Oklahoma’s lineup launched a combined 14 home runs on Friday and Saturday. All-American senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts was just as notable for her bat over the four-game stretch. Ricketts hit a pair of home runs and drove in six in Saturday’s first matchup.
“We had to adjust to their pitching,” Ricketts said. “I was just trying to stay late and go opposite field.”
Sophomore infielder Lauren Chamberlain, who leads the Big 12 in home runs, blasted a homer in each of the four weekend contests.
Chamberlain attributed her success to her patience in working the count.
“Going after good pitches, getting deep in a lot of counts, and just making sure I’m swinging at good pitches,” Chamberlain said.
Though only in the beginning of her sophomore season, Chamberlain has 43 career home runs. The all-time NCAA record sits at 90, putting the California native on a swift pace to reach the mark.
Another Sooner sophomore impressed her coach over the weekend — infielder Shelby Pendley Pendley notched a pair of multi home run games. In her last nine outings, the Arizona transfer is hitting .789.
The multiple pitchers Gasso used in the circle over the weekend perplexed opposing lineups.
Ricketts improved to 10-0 on the season while fellow senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne earned her ninth victory.
Sophomore Georgia Casey, regularly used at second base, earned the start in the first game. Casey did not allow a run as she gained her first career win. Freshman pitcher Leslie Miller also came on for a little more than an inning of work, striking out three batters.
Gasso had worried that her team was “pressing” too much in the previous weekend, but it was not the case this time around. The Sooners were loose and came out with the energy their coach craves. The players echoed these thoughts.
“It’s important to have these weekends at home with our fans,” Chamberlain said. “And like coach said, to have a good time in the dugout.”
The Sooners will make their last West Coast trip beginning Friday in Fullerton, Calif. at the Judi Garman Classic. Oklahoma has thrived in the golden state with a record of 10-0.