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Oklahoma Wins Slugfest To Advance To WCWS Championship Series
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma and Arizona State combined for eight runs and 17 hits during Saturday’s national semifinal at the Women’s College World Series. In the end, however, Oklahoma was able to pull out the 5-3 win to eliminate the Sun Devils and punch its ticket to the national finals for the first time since 2000.
Arizona State (53-11) wasted little time in getting on the board in the first when Annie Lockwood drove a two-out, two-RBI double to the right center field wall to give the Sun Devils and early 2-0 lead.
In the third, Oklahoma did the majority of its damage with an RBI-single from pitcher Keilani Ricketts and a double from Jessica Shults that drove in Ricketts and Destinee Martinez. The Sooners picked up their final run of the frame off of a dropped fly ball to Arizona State’s Haley Steel that allowed Shults to score.
In the post-game press conference, Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso talked about her decision to move Norris up in the line-up, a decision that had direct impact on the game and helped lead to the win.
“Well, Katie has really been swinging well and feeling very confident. And with Erica Sampson in the sixth hole who has a lot of speed and just a feisty style hitter, I think I needed a little more poise and experience to back up Jessica Shults is why I made that decision, and trying to bring Brittany Williams back in the equation, who has had good success in past postseasons. So it's just a risk you take and it worked out pretty good.”
Ricketts, who is now 36-7, turned in her third-straight 10-plus strikeout performance of the WCWS by fanning 13. She now has 40 strikeouts over the three-game-span and is averaging 13.3 strikeouts per seven innings with a 1.00 ERA.
The Sooners will now take on the winner of Sunday’s other semifinal between Alabama and California. Monday’s appearance in the WCWS Championship Series will be the first for the Sooners since it was instituted in 2005.