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Oklahoma softball: Sooners shake off early jitters

COMMENTARY — After allowing an early run, Keilani Ricketts and OU settled down to rout Michigan in their WCWS opener.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 31, 2013

Shelby Pendley, the Big 12 player of the year, threw wide of first base for an error.

Then the OU third baseman threw behind Michigan runner Sierra Lawrence, a poor decision that cost the Sooners another out.

Finally, catcher Jessica Shults dropped a toss from pitcher Keilani Ricketts, and Lawrence slid in safely at the plate.

Three batted balls in the third inning, which combined didn't travel 100 feet, had given the Wolverines a run on Ricketts.

Games on this stage have been lost on less.

But this is not your mother's Women's College World Series. One run rarely beats you these days. Not against big boppers like these Sooners.

OU's fielding settled down, OU's bats awoke and Ricketts remained her usual dominating self as the Sooners routed the Wolverines 7-1 Thursday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

The shaky Sooner defense was not indicative of its 2013 performance. But it's not so strange for the nerves and the tension of the World Series to turn sure-handed defenders jittery.

Ricketts didn't let it bother her. She no-hit the Wolverines and struck out 12.

“Once Michigan scored, that kind of woke us up a little,” Ricketts said. “We just knew we had to respond to that.”

Not since 2007 had the World Series hosted a no-hitter — told you the game has changed — but such was Ricketts' dominance that Michigan didn't even get the ball out of the infield.

“She had all her stuff tonight,” said Shults. “She was throwing the ball hard, then mixing speeds. She answered every time. She came back and got big outs for us. Just made us want to come in and get runs for her. She had her A game tonight.”

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