Weekend sweep gives OU what it needs going into postseason
STILLWATER Earning a conference championship and a Bedlam series sweep is what the No. 1 OU softball team did this weekend, capping off what has been a regular season full of success.
The Sooners (47-4, 15-2 Big 12) beat Oklahoma State in all three contests, routing the in-state rival by a combined score of 19-1.
“I can’t ask for anything more,” coach Patty Gasso said. “No. 1 ranked team, No. 1 seed in the tournament, what else can I ask for? They were phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”
The most significant victory of the weekend came Saturday before the season’s largest crowd at Marita Hynes Field.
Oklahoma had run-ruled the Cowgirls the night before at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, 10-1. The win put OU one victory away from grabbing the conference crown.
That Big 12-clinching win came during Saturday’s Senior Day with senior Michelle Gascoigne in the circle. Gascoigne threw six shutout innings and fanned eight OSU hitters.
Fellow seniors Keilani Ricketts, Brianna Turang and Jessica Shults all contributed to the 4-0 win.
Gasso’s squad was awarded the Bedlam and Big 12 Championship trophy following the game. It was the 10th conference title in program history.
Claiming the Big 12 title on Senior Day is something Gasso said she wished would work out every season.
As for the day’s best memory, Ricketts went with something that wasn’t part of what she did during the game, she said.
“Having our parents throw out the first pitch to us,” Ricketts said.
The four seniors humorously donned catcher’s gear as their mothers took to the circle for the ceremonial first pitch.
With the Bedlam series already won and the Big 12 title claimed, Gasso said she thought her team might have come out flat for the series finale Sunday at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.
The team exceeded its coach’s expectations by shutting out Oklahoma State, 5-0, thanks to the fifth no-hitter of the year from Ricketts and a multi-homer game from sophomore Lauren Chamberlain.
“She did everything she wanted to do, and her pitches were great,” Gasso said of Ricketts. “Maybe she didn’t have huge strikeout totals, but she was in absolute command.”
Ricketts attributed the feat to her defense that was flawless behind her. There should have been about five hits today, but the defense stayed composed, she said.
As for Chamberlain’s homers, the Cowgirl outfielders simply turned around as the pair of monster shots left the stadium. The first baseman now has 25 homers on the season — third in the NCAA.
Oklahoma will learn of its postseason scheduling Sunday evening with the NCAA Softball Selection Show. The team will look to use the momentum it gained in the Oklahoma State series as it begins the postseason next weekend.
“We kind of use this series as a stepping stone to kick into the postseason,” Chamberlain said. “Just working to perfect our game in any way we can. To get better as individuals so that we can collectively get better as a team.”