Sooners Start Season Strong, Despite Close Loss

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:12 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Feb 12, 2011 8:2 PM CDT

Stephany Speck
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

TEMPE, Arizona -- The Oklahoma Sooners are opening their season in impressive fashion, winning four of their first five games, including a shutout of Appalachian State and a 10-run win over top-ranked Arizona State.

The Sooners begin the 2011 season in Tempe, Arizona where they’re participating in the Kajikawa Classic. The first team they faced was Cal State Bakersfield, which they stomped, 11-2. Sophomore Keilani Ricketts notched her first win of the season after pitching 3.2 innings, allowing for just one walk. The Roadrunners were able to eat on the board when Amy Ricciardi hit a two-run homer in the fifth, which was the only run the team recorded throughout the game. The Sooners put up six runs in the second inning, including a two-run homer by Haley Nix, and five additional runs in the third to seal the Roadrunners’ fate.

Oklahoma’s Michelle Gascoigne dominated the circle in the team’s second game, an 8-0 shutout of Appalachian State. The sophomore threw 51 pitches, 41 of which registered as strikes. It marked the program’s seventh perfect game. In her five innings, Gascoigne struck out right batters to earn her first win of the season. Jessica Shults led Oklahoma at bat, hitting one homer and two RBI. The Sooners put one run up in each of the second and third innings, before opening it up in the fourth and fifth, when they posted three additional runs in each inning.

Ricketts helped keep the Northwestern Wildcats scoreless until the fourth inning, when Adrienne Monka hit a home run. Rickettes recorded 12 strikeouts, allowing just one run and two hits, in the 9-1 win over the Wildcats. The Sooners were led by the young blood on the team -- freshman Destinee Martinez and Brittany Williams. Martinez went 4-for-4, driving in two RBI and two runs, while Williams hit 3-for-3, including a two-run homer in the sixth.

The Sooners fourth win came in an 11-1 win over No. 2 Arizona. The Wildcats (4-1) recorded only one run, a homer at the hands of Kristen Arroila. The Sooners held their own at bat, racking up 11 runs against the Wildcats’ pitchers, including a home run from third baseman Dani Dobbs in the top of the third. Ricketts earned her third win of the year after striking out five of the first seven batters. She also sealed Arizona’s loss with a game-winning home run at the top of the fifth.

Oklahoma’s Gascoigne again took to the pitching circle in Saturday’s game against Arizona State. Although she just pitched a perfect game a few days prior, the sophomore’s luck changed against the Sun Devils. The Sooners dropped the game by one run, recording their first loss of the season in the 4-3 battle.