Norman Regional Friday Results

Oklahoma routs Marist while Razorbacks turn back Fordham in regional softball

The fireworks set off following the opening games in the NCAA Softball Regional Friday night were pale in comparison to those offensive “fireworks” set off by the No. 1 ranked University of Oklahoma softball team at the OU Softball Complex. OU pounded out 13 hits and throttled the Marist Red Foxes, 17-0, in the first softball ever played between the two schools in the nightcap of the NCAA Softball Regional.

In the first game, the SEC’s University of Arkansas came back after trailing 1-0  to turn back Fordham of the Atlantic-10,  5-1. The Rams had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-out homer to right field by  shortstop Elise Fortier. It was Fortier’s 10th homer of the year and came off Razorback hurler Kimmy Beasley. The left-handed Beasley then allowed a single by Fordham catcher Gabby Luety before retiring Gayla Lombardo on a ground out to end the inning. From there to the remainder of the game, Beasley allowed only four more hits in collecting her 11th win of the season against eight losses. Beasley went the distance for the complete game, her ninth of the game, striking out eight and walking two batters.  “Kimmy did a great job,” said Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee.” In our program we talk about being great in the circle and playing championship defense. We did that tonight and got timely hits. We have been fortunate to have a good pitching staff all year.”

The Razorbacks, the first Arkansas softball team to play in the tournament while nationally ranked, collected nine hits off two Fordham pitchers, Jamie Labovick, who lasted only one-third of an inning, and Patti Maloney who finished the game. Labovick allowed two runs in the first inning with Maloney giving up nine hits and three runs in finishing the game. Arkansas (35-18) scored twice each in the first and second innings and added a single run in the sixth inning.  Freshman Stephanie Canfield led the Razorbacks on offense with a 3-for-3 performance including an RBI single in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Devon Wallace also had a 2-for-3 game with a double, a walk, a run scored and an RBI double in the second inning. “Stephanie really had a nice day at the plate,” said Larabee. “She had three big hits tonight and manufactured some runs. Devon getting on base is really important, she is a catalyst for us. It was  nice to see her get to swing the bat.”

OU coach Patty Gasso watched as her Sooners swung the bats with authority, pounding out 13 hits while scoring eight runs each in the first and third innings and a single run in the third inning. The Red Foxes,  meanwhile, had only one hit off the combined hurling of Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne. The hit was a single to right field by shortstop Kyrsten Van Natta after two out in the second inning. Ricketts had struck out three of the first five batters before allowing the opposition’s only hit . Keilani finished with seven strikeouts in three innings before Michelle hurled the last two innings. She fanned five batters and issued one walk as the Sooners improved their overall record of 48-4 and their regional record to 50-17.

The Red Foxes (30-25) used three pitchers to no avail against the hard-hitting Sooners who had five hits in the eight run first inning. The inning was highlighted by Lauren Chamberlain’s 26th homer of the season and 56th of her career---a three-run blast. Chamberlain, who went 3-for-4, also had a two-run double in the eight-run third inning to finish with five RBIs. The run in the second inning came on a sacrifice fly RBI by Destinee Martinez. “We've been waiting for this moment for a while," OU head coach Patty Gasso said. "The team was ready to come out and attack early, which is exactly what we did, so everybody followed the game plan to a T." It was OU’s 21st win via a run-rule this year. “We would have loved to have had a little better showing tonight. But I was actually really pleased with the swings we had. We have not seen pitchers like that and I thought we put some really good swings on the ball. We are really looking forward to tomorrow and putting forth a better showing,” said Marist head coach Joe Ausanio.

With the wins, Oklahoma and Arkansas will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. followed by Friday’s losers playing at 3:30 p.m. with another game scheduled at 6 p.m. matching the winner of game No. 4 against the loser of game No. 3.