June 1, 2013

Red River rout gives OU crucial win

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


For Sooner athletes, there's always something extra special about a win against the University of Texas.

But, top-seed Oklahoma's 10-2 run-ruled win against their heated rival in the double-elimination Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City on Saturday was vital for a different reason.

"This game is the biggest there is, because it puts you in a position where someone has to beat you twice," Sooner coach Patty Gasso said. "I think right now with the way we are playing, that would be difficult for any team here to do. That allows us to have some extra rest, do our homework and research who we are playing next. It's really a tremendous advantage."

While the lopsided-score appears to indicate the cancellation of Friday night's action in the Women's CWS due to the severe weather only put a cap on a volatile Sooner offense ready to explode, four of those runs came off of one error by Texas pitcher Kim Bruins in the third inning.

With Texas up 2-0 after a productive third inning, it was Bruins' throw to first base off a bunt from Oklahoma's Brianna Turang that flew all the way into the outfield corner, putting three runs, including Turang, onto the board to give Oklahoma a 6-2 lead.

"I definitely rushed the throw," Bruins said. "I had more time than I thought."

Turang said she was only trying to set up lead-off hitter Lauren Chamberlain with runners on the bags, but she ended up clearing the bases and giving Oklahoma a commanding lead they did not relinquish.

Other than the third inning, two-time ASA Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts and the OU defense kept the Longhorns at bay, retiring the first three batters consecutively in three of the five innings played. Ricketts pitched the entire afternoon, letting up three hits and two runs while striking out two batters and walking four.

It was Ricketts' RBI double that brought in the first of Oklahoma's runs in the third inning after she had struck out to Texas pitcher Blaire Luna in the first frame.

"It felt good, because I didn't have any success at my first at bat," said Rickets. "I was going up there trying to be more decisive with my swing. Blaire's a hard pitcher to be decisive with, just because she has so many different pitches."

One talking point from the game was Texas coach Connie Clark's decision to pull starter Luna after just two full innings, setting up Bruins to take the brunt of the Sooner offense. At that point, Luna had walked five batters.

"I think it was five walks," Clark said. "They've got a tremendous lineup and we felt like KB (Bruins) would bring a different look to the table; a little more east-west stuff and mix a straight change in there as opposed to Luna, who likes to work north and south quite a bit. I thought KB did a great job. Although I know she's a little disappointed, I liked what she brought."

The Sooners will now get a half-day's rest Sunday before playing the winner of the 3:30 p.m. game between Washington and either Arizona State or Michigan.