Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 9, 2013

OU softball blasts Northern Colorado, Drake

NORMAN — Saturday was “Michelle Gascoigne Day” at Marita Hynes Field, and the Oklahoma senior didn’t disappoint. Gascoigne struck out 11 against Northern Colorado while giving up just one hit in the front end of a Sooner doubleheader.

And while Gascoigne was dealing on the bump, Keilani Ricketts did the same at the plate, sending two pitches over the wall including a grand slam in the third inning that closed out the game and sent the top-ranked Sooners on their way to a 10-0, five-inning run rule victory over Northern Colorado (7-15-1). They followed that up with another hard-hitting barrage in a 13-0 win over Drake in the second game.

Against Drake (14-10), it was sophomore Shelby Pendley who delivered the deep balls, including a key two-run shot in the bottom of the second. Taking advantage of two Drake errors, the home run helped the Sooners build a 10-0 lead after two innings, and they cruised to the win from there.

“Every part of the game was working well today and you could feel the energy,” coach Patty Gasso said. “Michelle threw well today, and there was some outstanding offensive performances.”

OU finished with six home runs on the day, with Lauren Chamberlain adding two more after sending three over the fence on Friday. That brought the Sooners’ total through four weekend games to 13.

Cloudy skies and the threat of rain forced OU (22-1) to move up Saturday’s game times. It was far from optimal playing conditions, but the Sooners avoided the rain long enough close out the weekend series with a pair of wins and move to 5-0 since dropping their only game of the season a week ago to Nebraska.

“We had a good weekend at home and it’s always good to play in front of our crowd,” Chamberlain said. “Today I knew they were throwing a lot of off-speed pitches and I was just trying to be patient and wait on those.”

Like in its pair of run-rule victories on Friday, the Sooners were unstoppable at the plate. They struck out just eight times through 43 batters and extended numerous at-bats by avoiding chasing bad pitches and fighting off close ones, something that Gasso pointed to as the primary reason the Sooners enjoyed so much success at the plate during the weekend.

“It’s the little things they’re doing,” she said. “When this team is patient and doesn’t help out pitchers, they’re almost impossible to get out.”

After eight straight games at Marita Hynes Field, the Sooners are back on the road next week, traveling to Fullerton, Calif. for the Judi Garman Classic. Beginning with a noon contest on Friday against Pacific, OU will play five games at the Classic before returning to Norman for a three-game series against Louisville the following week.

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