NCAA softball: OU wins Super Regional opener vs. Arizona
Keilani Ricketts works out of trouble to lift Sooners to a 6-0 victory.
NORMAN — Bases loaded, two outs and Oklahoma held what suddenly felt like a vulnerable lead in the top of the seventh inning.
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Three pitches later, Sooners ace Keilani Ricketts struck out Arizona's Lini Koria to seal the complete-game shutout as OU won 6-0 on Friday.
A fitting end to an NCAA Super Regional opener won with Ricketts' poised, bend-but-don't-break performance that kept Arizona's high-powered offense off the scoreboard despite runners on base in all but one inning.
“It's harder to crack the dam than it used to be,” Wildcats coach Mike Candrea said of Ricketts. “And I think that comes from maturity.”
With runners on first and second and one out in the top of the first inning, Ricketts forced a slick 1-5-3 double play to eliminate the threat.
In the second, again with one out and the first two bases occupied, she struck out back-to-back Wildcats, the second of which came after a 3-0 count.
“It was tough getting out of situations, but defense came up clutch with a lot of great plays,” Ricketts said. “I just didn't let those hits frustrate me. Whenever those hits get to me, I'm not able to focus on what needs to get done.”
OU's offense set the tone early, scoring two quick runs in the first on Big 12 Freshman of the Year Lauren Chamberlain's double.
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