Claremore Daily Progress

March 2, 2013

SOFTBALL: Ricketts K's 14, No. 1 OU blanks Houston

CORBIN HOSLER
CNHI News Services

NORMAN — It took a little while for Brittany Williams and the top-ranked Sooners to warm up on a cool and windy day but when they finally did, Williams provided the big shot they needed to pull away in front of the first home crowd of the season.



After striking out with the bases loaded earlier in the game, Williams didn’t make the same mistake when she stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the third inning and the bases again loaded. Instead, after fighting back from a 1-2 count, she took a 3-2 pitch to right field that brought in two runners and put Oklahoma on the board.



That spurred the Sooners, who added two more runs in the inning and one more in the fifth and sixth to pull away for the 6-0 victory over Houston in the home opener.



“I’m proud of Brittany Williams,” coach Patty Gasso said. “Being in the same situation after that first at-bat, she came up big-time clutch. That’s the thing about this team. If you give them second chances they’ll make you pay.”



Walking back to the dugout after the first at-bat, Williams said she was already planning for her next chance.



“I was not going to let it get to me,” she said. “I tried to stay confident and not get my head down.”



Keilani Ricketts took to the circle at Marita Hynes Field for the first time in her senior season and delivered 14 strikeouts to earn her eighth win of the season. She gave up five hits in the outing and worked out of trouble several times.



Ricketts also helped her own cause at the plate, sending a solo shot into a driving wind and deep over the right field wall to extend OU’s lead to 6-0.



“The first few days back home were cold and windy, but it was nice to finally be at home,” she said. “The fans were excited to see us play. We weren’t traveling and we came out relaxed.”



It was a pitcher’s duel early, with no hits coming until the bottom of the third despite OU loading the bases on three walks in the second. That changed when OU’s Georgia Casey lined a single into left field to start the two-out rally. Ricketts followed that up with a single and Shelby Pendley then walked to load the bases and set the stage for Williams’ big hit.



The next two runs in the inning came after an errant throw down the third-base line by catcher Haley Outon and a Destinee Martinez single.



The shutout victory, Ricketts’ seventh of the year, moved OU to 16-0. Next up for Oklahoma is a doubleheader against No. 25 Nebraska (11-4) beginning at 1:30 today before closing out the weekend with a rematch against Houston (8-6) at noon Sunday.



“This was a good start for us,” Ricketts said. “We have to stay focused and take it game by game.”