Sooners continue winning streak as they roll into Kansas
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The No. 1 OU softball team rolls into Lawrence, Kan., this weekend for its last away Big 12 series of the season, as it takes on the Jayhawks beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at Arrocha Ballpark.
Oklahoma (43-3, 11-1 Big 12) will travel north on a wave of momentum that has been building over the last two weeks. After earning a series win over No. 6 Texas, the Sooners hosted Iowa State last weekend, winning every game in dominant fashion. OU run ruled the Cyclones in each contest.
“We’re definitely starting to click on all cylinders,” senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne said. “We played really well early on, but it’s all about the little things, and I think lately the little things are starting to get perfected.”
In its 12 conference games, Oklahoma has seven batters hitting .350 or better, with a team average of .377 in Big 12 play. And in the circle, the senior duo of Keilani Ricketts and Gascoigne own the second and third best ERA’s within conference contests.
The Sooner confidence is as high as it has been all season, but the team stressed the level of focus hasn’t dropped. The squad will look to continue its hot streak this weekend against the Jayhawks (30-15, 5-7 Big 12).
Kansas occupies the fourth place in the conference standings with a 55th national RPI ranking. The Jayhawks have struggled against the top teams in the conference, but will look to protect their home field this weekend. And in the Big 12, wins do not come easy on the road.
Nonetheless, winning away from Norman is something OU has been remarkable at this season. The Sooners have lost just one game away from Marita Hynes Field – April 20 in Austin, Texas.
“The routine that we have works pretty well for us,” Gascoigne said. “We love to feed off our home crowd but it’s also fun to feed off the opposing crowd.”
Keeping the trend going at Kansas will be imperative for Oklahoma’s chances to remain atop the Big 12. Just one game separates OU and Texas in the loss column heading into this weekend.
“We know what’s at stake, but at the same time it doesn’t really mess up our mind frame,” sophomore first baseman Lauren Chamberlain said. “If anything, the added pressure makes us more excited that we’re fighting for something.”
The Sooners and Jayhawks will face off in a double-header beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday with the series finale at noon Sunday. All games will be played at Arrocha Ballpark.
“I know this means a lot to both teams,” coach Patty Gasso said. “For us, it’s just continuing to fight for the Big 12 championship. For Kansas, it’s a chance to get into the postseason.”