Sooners rally against TU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, May 20, 2012
5/20/12 at 6:51 AM
NORMAN - As Tulsa took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning of Saturday's driver's seat NCAA regional game, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso refused to admit she was shaken.
"No panic," she said. "More like, 'We're running out of time, let's just get this done.' "
So the Sooners did.
Befitting a team expected to compete for a national championship, the Sooners scored six times in the top of the sixth, taking control of a game they went on to win 7-1.
OU earned the rest of the day off, and should come into Sunday's regional championship relaxed and confident. Even if the Sooners drop the 1 p.m. game, they can come back and clinch the regional in a 3:30 rematch.
"A safety net," Gasso called it.
Here's OU's other safety net: Keilani Ricketts.
Saturday's winning pitcher improved to 30-7 after allowing three hits in seven innings. She struck out seven straight Tulsa batters at one point, and fanned 10 overall on a day the Golden Hurricane looked totally overmatched against her.
"When Keilani is on the mound just working like that, it gives us confidence to take that momentum to the plate and answer for her," said OU catcher Jessica Shults.
For five innings, the Sooners couldn't do that. Tulsa starter Lacey Middlebrooks mixed pitches effectively and got hitters to roll balls to her infielders. That formula shut out OU on three hits through five innings.
With two on and one out in the Sooners' sixth, Shults finally solved her, ripping a double to the fence in right-center over the reach of rightfielder Jessica Stoelke. Lauren Chamberlain, who had reached on a fielder's choice, scored from second and it was 1-1.
"The highlight of this day," Gasso said of Shults' swing.
Erica Sampson followed by dropping a single over second baseman Skylar Swanson to score pinch runners Ali Vandever and Callie Parsons. OU had the lead, and the dam was about to break.
Brianna Turang lined a single to left. After a passed ball, Katie Norris shot a single by Swanson to bring in Sampson and Turang. Finally, Georgia Casey blooped a double down the rightfield line to score punch runner Jessica Vest and make it 6-1.
Shults' RBI groundout in the seventh finished the scoring. OU moved to 47-8 and a win away from hosting a best-of-three super regional next weekend.
Oklahoma 7, Tulsa 1
Ricketts and Shults; Middlebrooks, Schrock (6) and Bowen. W: Ricketts (30-7). L: Middlebrooks (20-6).
Tickets: All-session tickets: $20-$40. Single-session tickets: $8-$15. (405) 325-2424 or 800-456-4668
Game 1: Tulsa 9, Oregon State 7
Game 2: Oklahoma 19, Lehigh 3
Game 3: Oklahoma 7, Tulsa 1
Game 4: Oregon State 9, Lehigh 2
Game 5: Oregon State 2, Tulsa 1
Championship: Oklahoma (47-8) vs. Oregon State (36-22), 1 p.m. (if necessary game at 3:30 p.m.)
Guerin Emig 581-8355
TU's Emma Horton is forced out at second as Oklahoma's Georgia Casey throws to first in the fifth inning of Saturday's NCAA regional in Norman. BRYAN TERRY/The Oklahoman