No. 7 Oklahoma's All-American No-Hits Kansas in Five, 8-0
March 30, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. –Following a two-run Sooner first inning, the Kansas softball team kept No. 7 Oklahoma off the board until a six spot in the bottom of the fourth broke the game open and handed the Sooners the 8-0 victory in five innings during Friday night’s series opener at Marita Hynes Field.
Oklahoma junior Keilani Ricketts (16-4) looked the part of an All-American pitcher in the circle against Kansas (23-8, 2-5). Ricketts, who doubles as a starting pitcher for Team USA, threw her first career perfect game in the shortened contest. She struck out 10 as she faced the minimum 15 batters, accounting for her 11th double-digit strikeout performance of the season. Her flawless performance marked the first time a Kansas (23-8, 2-5) team has been no-hit since Texas A&M did so on April 19, 2008.
Oklahoma (28-4, 4-1) also received a star performance from their starter at the plate as Ricketts hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to help her cause. Ricketts, however, carried only a small portion of the offensive weight. Freshman first baseman Lauren Chamberlain entered the weekend as the Big 12’s home run leader – and proved it in the series opener.
Chamberlain struck first when she drilled a solo home run over the batter’s eye in centerfield for the first run of the game. She would hit her conference-leading 14th home run three innings later; a grand slam that would put the Sooners at the eight-run mark required for the run rule. The rookie finished the night 2-for-3 with five RBIs.
Freshman Alicia Pille(11-5) earned the start in the circle for Kansas. After recording the first out of the game, Pille surrendered the back-to-back homers to Chamberlain and Ricketts.
The two Sooner singles later, sophomore Kristin Martinezwas called in to relieve Pille. Martinez, who has made five of her last six appearances in relief, went to work in a hurry. She collected two outs against the next two batters faced to end inning and keep the Jayhawk deficit to only two runs.
Martinez wouldn’t allow another Sooner hit for two-straight innings. Junior left fielder Maggie Hullhighlighted the defensive help behind her with a diving catch in left field’s foul territory to send KU to the bottom of the fourth trailing just 2-0.
But Oklahoma’s Big-12 leading offense ignited again in the bottom half of the fourth. The Sooners sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, seven of which recorded hits, to put the game out of reach. Four-consecutive singles to kick off the frame prompted head coach Megan Smith to lift Martinez for experienced senior pitcher Ashley Spencer. The first batter Spencer threw against resulted in an infield error and the next was Chamberlain’s grand slam to seal the 8-0 win.
The Jayhawks and Sooners will face off in game two on Saturday at 2 p.m.