NORMAN — So much has changed in four years for Michelle Gascoigne.
Oklahoma's No. 2 pitcher has gone from timid freshman to a seasoned senior who does not allow many to cross home plate.
So far this season, she owns a 16-3 record with a 0.95 ERA.
Gascoigne said keeping the earned run average under one doesn't keep her up at night — and even if her final home game is against the Sooners' biggest rival.
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oklahoma will face Oklahoma State, first at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, for a makeup game that was rescheduled due to rain. The teams will then play Saturday in Norman and Sunday in Stillwater.
Looking back, Gascoigne said, the only thing she would change would be to grow a thicker skin.
“My freshman year, if people got on (base) and started scoring runs, I wasn't able to come back from that as easy as I am now,” she said. “I would just kind of fold.”
Mentally, Gascoigne said, she failed to work out of big jams. When one batter reached base, so did the next and the next. When one scored, they all began to score.
That's not the case anymore.
With time and learning, she gained confidence to say, “that's all they're going to get.” The ERA began to shrink. Help from fellow pitcher Keilani Ricketts pushed her along. too.
“She kind of had that sense about things a little earlier than me,” Gascoigne said of Ricketts. “She influenced me to work through things because she always had.”
The change started between Gascoigne's freshman and sophomore years. She said it was noticeable by her junior year. Now in her fourth year with the Sooners, Gascoigne said she's gone through almost every scenario in the circle.
“This season, I've had a lot of (games) where I've been working out of big jams against big teams,” she said.
Ricketts said of Gascoigne's growth: “It's been great. We really complement each other. It's been awesome to see her come into her own this season.”
Now, Gascoigne is ready to get back to the stadium where the Sooners lost the final game of the College World Series. But she's even more excited to return to Norman on Saturday for OU's final regular-season home game.
“It's going to be awesome,” Gascoigne said. “So many people come for Bedlam anyway and being our last game, it's even more special than it already will be.”