NORMAN — Saturday's Bedlam softball game was one for the seniors.
Beyond Senior Day, beyond Keilani Ricketts, Michelle Gascoigne, Brianna Turang and Jessica Shults taking the field in Norman for their last regular-season game, beyond beating Oklahoma State again, Saturday was one for the record books.
With a 4-0 victory against the Cowgirls, the No. 1-ranked Sooners clinched both the Bedlam Series Softball Trophy and the Big 12 Championship with a plethora of help from the four seniors.
“What we love about this senior class is their infectious personality and how they've taken this program to new heights,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said near the end of the senior highlight reel. “It's going to be hard to say goodbye, but the best is yet to come.”
Gascoigne (17-3) started for the Sooners and went six innings, allowing no runs and just four hits in front of a crowd of 1,597, the second-largest in Marita Hynes Field history and largest this season. She also struck out eight, lowering her ERA to a 0.91.
Turang went 1 for 3 with an RBI. Ricketts started as the designated player and pitched the last three outs.
“It was definitely special to be able to be out there,” Ricketts said. “Usually it's Michelle's game to have. She was dominating early, and we were able to get a good lead and I was able to get a chance to throw on Senior Day.”
Then as the crowd clapped and cheered for a final strike to be thrown, Oklahoma State's Gessenia DeLaCruz popped up the ball near the plate. Shults, the catcher, took a couple steps and dove to the right side of home plate, enveloping the last out in her leather.
“Victory for the seniors,” an Oklahoma fan shouted.
With the win, the Sooners improved to 46-4 overall and 14-2 in the Big 12.
Kat Espinosa (18-18) took the loss for Oklahoma State, giving up nine hits and four earned runs in six innings.
Second baseman Ari Morrison had two hits for the Cowgirls (30-25, 6-11).
Before the game, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione presented Ricketts and Turang with their diplomas since they missed their commencement ceremony. The senior ceremonies continued as each senior went to home plate dressed in catcher's gear to take the first pitch from their mothers.
When asked what part of the day was best — the Senior Day, the Bedlam trophy or the Big 12 trophy — Ricketts smiled and said her favorite part was the first pitch. Gascoigne laughed and agreed.
“We just decided last night that we would put on the catcher's gear,” Gascoigne said.
“We were teaching our moms our pitching motion,” Ricketts said.
At the end of the game, as Lady Antebellum's “I Was Here” filled Marita Hynes Field, the seniors walked beneath their teammates' bats, escorted by their parents as most of the Sooners wiped away tears.
When Gasso took the mic, she confirmed to the remaining fans that this wouldn't be Oklahoma's last game on their home field.
“We plan to be back here for a regional and host it,” Gasso said. “We're going to be here for a Super Regional, we're going to win that. We're going to the College World Series, take it one game at a time ... and we're going to win that.”