Oklahoma Run-Rules Texas A&M

Oklahoma run-rules Texas A&M in Super Regional opener, 10-2

OU  pitcher Keilani Ricketts gave up two homers Friday in the NCAA Super Regional, but fortunately they were only solo homers and the Sooners still led by one, 3-2, entering the bottom of the sixth inning.  When the sixth inning was completed, Oklahoma had registered a 10-2 six-inning run-rule win over 16th-seeded Texas A&M Friday night at Marita Hynes Field before a crowd of 1,575. It was OU’s 23rd run-rule win of the season.

The Sooners (51-4) need a victory today at 11 a.m. to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the third year in a row and eighth time in school history. If a third game is needed, it would take place at 2 p.m. also on ESPN.

OU had scored four times in the sixth to increase its margin to 7-2 when Ricketts stepped up to the plate and proceeded to pound the ball over the leftfield fence on a 3-2 pitch for a three-run homer to end the game on a run-rule. It was her 13th homer this season and the 48th of her career, tying her sister Samantha for fourth on the all-time OU career homer list.

Ricketts had enjoyed a tremendous night in the circle as she had struck out 13 batters, including the first five of the game, to equal a school Super Regional record. She allowed just three hits and two runs with one walk, mixing speeds and freezing batters with a knee-buckling changeup. It was Ricketts’ 30th win of the season against only one loss.

“I think we were just trying to set the tone early because we know that A&M has had great hitters all year long,” Ricketts said. “I wanted to get ahead in the count because they were patient early in the game, and I think that helped by setting the tone in the first two innings.”

Oklahoma opened the scoring in the first inning. Lauren Chamberlain stood on second base with two outs after walking to lead off the game and moving to second on a wild pitch. Ricketts then helped her own cause by pulling a single through the right side to drive home Chamberlain, who slid in just ahead of the tag.

The Sooners added to their lead with two more runs in the second. Brittany Williams led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Two ground outs moved Williams to third before senior Brianna Turang dropped a double down the leftfield line behind third base to make it 2-0, one of three hits she collected in the game. Chamberlain followed Turang with a double of her own. Chamberlain was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, but Turang was able to cross the plate before the final out of the inning.

“I was just trying to focus on finding my pitch and hitting the ball where I need it to go,” Turang said. “I think having to be in front of Lauren [Chamberlain] during a few innings is competition for me because my goal is to get on base for her or get the bat in her hands and so I think that’s something I focus on the most and just trying to do anything to get on base because that’s my job.”

Texas A&M chipped away at the Sooners’ lead with solo home runs in the third and fourth inning by Meagan May and Cali Lanphear, respectively, before the Sooners put the game on ice with the seven-run sixth inning.

“I’m just extremely proud of our team,” OU associate head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “It was a total team effort, and I just felt all three aspects, offense, defense, and pitching, went really well. It was exciting to watch them play and get after it today.”

Mel Dumezich (27-9) was the losing pitcher for the Aggies, hurling five and one-third innings, allowing six hits and eight runs, all earned, with seven walks and five strikes. Lauren Ainsley relieved her and allowed one hit and two runs.