NORMAN — A small flashback to Texas came before Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso.
A really small one. She didn't really want to admit it at first.
In the first inning of Oklahoma's game against Marist, when Gasso waved leadoff hitter Lauren Chamberlain from first base around third and Chamberlain didn't look up in time, Gasso saw a glimpse of Texas happening all over again.
“The difference is I stopped her instead of sending her,” Gasso said, recalling the April 20 game against Texas, when Gasso waved Jessica Shults home from second and Shults was called out at the plate to end the game.
Besides the small flashback during the opening round game of the NCAA Tournament at Marita Hynes Field, it was the same Keilani Ricketts, same Lauren Chamberlain, same No. 1-ranked Sooners.
They took control of the game and the momentum from the start, beating Marist, 17-0. The Sooners (48-4) will face Arkansas (35-18) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Chamberlain went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, including a three-run homer to left center field in her second at-bat of the first inning.
In her first at-bat of the first inning, though, Chamberlain reached base with a single. Shortly afterward is when Gasso's Texas flashback started.
Georgia Casey slapped a double, and Gasso began waving her arm. Gasso looked like she would wave Chamberlain home all the way from first, but she abruptly stopped turning her arm in a circle as Chamberlain neared third. Chamberlain didn't see her coach's arm stop waving in time and passed the third base. In her attempt to slow down, she instead slipped and fell to the grass in between third and home.
“I was just feeling fast,” Chamberlain said. “Coach did her job and tried to get me back to third. I tried to put on the brakes.”
Gasso said: “I think (it was) my excitement of just wanting to score early and score fast. Lauren's adrenaline was pumping and she was just coming hard.”
Marist's shortstop looked Chamberlain down as she stumbled to get up. The shortstop threw the ball home. Chamberlain scrambled back to third and slide in safe before the throw.
“It was just a little overly aggressive call by myself,” Gasso said. “Luckily it didn't come back to hurt us.”
Ricketts only pitched three innings, but she threw a one-hit shutout along with seven strikeouts over 10 batters. Out of 38 pitches thrown, Ricketts threw 31 strikes. In her two innings of work, Michelle Gascoigne walked two and struck out five.
“When we saw Kelani come in and throw — we haven't seen velocity like that,” Marist coach Joe Ausanio said. “I just told the kids just go up there and let her supply the power.”
The problem for Marist was Ricketts' power was too much.
Gasso said she is thinking of starting Ricketts again on Saturday against Arkansas.
“Michelle was having a little bit of trouble with the humidity,” Gasso said of Gascoigne. “Even the rosin bag was wet.”
With a big game against Arkansas, Gasso said she was just happy she was able to get the butterflies out of her players and then rest them.
“They got what they wanted. They were able to swing and feel good about it,” Gasso said. “And then (we got) them off the field. That was important for us.”