The 4th ranked Oklahoma Sooners rode the arm and bat of NCAA softball Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts to a 5-1 win over South Florida in the opening game of the 2012 College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Ricketts, (34-7), allowed three hits and one unearned run against an upstart Bulls team for OU’s ninth straight win, moving them to a second round matchup (Friday night at 6:00 pm) against the winner of the LSU/Cal game being played this afternoon.
Freshman Lauren Chamberlain, who set an OU single season record for home runs, nailed a 2-run shot (her 28th of the year) in the bottom of the 4th off of USF’s Sara Nevins (31-7) to give OU the lead for good. USF scored first in the top of the fourth on an unearned run.
Ricketts, who led the Sooners in hitting during the regular season, also tripled to deep left field, scoring Chamberlain in the bottom of the 6th to spark a 2 run frame that chased Nevins. Chamberlain had doubled and finished the day 2-3 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Pinch-hitter Brittany Williams walked with the bases loaded off of reliever Sam Greiner and OU added another to close out the scoring.
Jeanine Richardson led off the seventh with a bunt single but the next batter grounded into a double play to end the threat. Kenya Jackson grounded out to Ricketts to end the game. Ricketts, who averaged 10.8 strikeouts per game during the season, finished with 11 k’s and one walk.