Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

May 20, 2013

OU's dominant victory a shining example of how tough Sooners are in softball

NORMAN — On the first day Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso thought it was better to go with Michelle Gascoigne over Keilani Ricketts against Arkansas’ bats, the Sooners beat the Razorbacks by five runs.

A day later Gasso had the same thought. OU prevailed by 13 runs.

Thirteen!

How does one beat the Sooners? Well, the first order of business has to be getting Ricketts out of the circle or getting to her in it, but lot of good it did the Razorbacks.

That’s the takeaway from Marita Hynes Field, site of the Norman Regional, where OU blasted Arkansas 14-1 Sunday.

Ricketts is the nation’s best pitcher but she wasn’t very good this past weekend after blanking Marist Friday.

Sunday, she gave up a single and double to the first two hitters she faced before walking the bases loaded only to escape unscathed.

She hit a batter in the second inning and walked two more in the third before dialing up a two-ball, no-strike count on Andrea Sullivan, the moment she departed and Gascoigne relieved.

It didn’t matter.

Though Ricketts was more dominant against the Big 12, Gascoigne’s 0.91 earned run average over the length of the regular season was better than Ricketts’ 1.10.

If Gascoigne has long been OU’s other pitcher, she has come of age in 2013, nailing down career-high wins (17), innings pitched (123 1/3) and the nation’s second-best ERA.

“It’s really exciting to know that you’ve got somebody like Michelle coming into a game who’s fearless and you can put her into any situation,” Gasso said.

But that’s only a part of why OU is so hard to beat. There’s more.

To be sure, Arkansas hurt itself Sunday. The Sooners’ five-run third inning was made possible by Amanda Geile dropping what should have been the third out in right field. Two batters later, Lauren Chamberlain hit a tape-measure three-run home run over left-center field.

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