Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

April 7, 2013

OU softball blasts Baylor

NORMAN — For the second straight day, the Sooners responded just when they needed to.

Down 3-0 after a surprising hot start from Baylor, the top-ranked Sooners responded by getting several runners on base in the third. And down to their final out in the inning, the Sooners responded with a string of hits to score five runs and take the lead.

And it wasn’t just the batters. Michelle Gascoigne responded to giving up a home run by retiring the next eight batters she faced. And faced with a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, Keilani Ricketts spelled Gascoigne and delivered a strikeout to maintain the lead.

All of which contributed to OU taking down No. 17 Baylor, 9-3, for the second straight day to clinch the first Big 12 series of the season.

“Michelle will tell you that she wasn’t at her best today, but what I love about her is that she fought through it,” coach Patty Gasso said. “That allowed us to build some momentum in the dugout, and we fed off that.”

The turnaround in the circle came because of the quick adjustments Gascoigne made, something Gasso stressed before the weekend as crucial to the Sooners’ chances.

“They had a good gameplan for me, and I had to change it up,” Gascoigne said. “I trusted in my team to score because they’re very good at that, and I just wanted to do whatever I needed to do to get us back in there.”

OU (33-2, 2-0) did the damage in bunches on Saturday. The Sooners scored five runs in the third inning, kick-started by a 2-RBI double by Shelby Pendley. She later added a home run as part of a 2-for-4 performance with 3 RBIs.

The Sooners added four more in the fifth to put away the game, highlighted by Brittany Williams’ 3-run bomb over the right-field wall to finish off Baylor (29-9, 3-4).

“My teammates getting on in front of me gave me a lot of momentum,” said Williams, who finished 2 for 3 with five RBIs. “It gets me pumped up when our runners get on and let me bring them in.”

Gascoigne and Ricketts tag-teamed the pitching duties for the third day in a row. After Gascoigne left in the fifth, Ricketts struck out four over two scoreless innings to secure the win.

Backed by a sizable crowd, the Sooners brought energy form the start for the second straight day. Even after falling behind 3-0, the Sooners’ belief that they were in control never wavered.

“I loved what our team did today,” Gasso said. “They just fought. They were patient and fought off every count until they got a pitch they could hit hard. That’s the mark of a team that’s hungry. Our gameplan, our mindset, is on championships, and now we’re playing for something. We’re out for the ultimate prize, and right now that’s the Big 12 championship.”

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