No. 5/7 Oklahoma Erases Early Home Run to Take Series Opener
Sandy James hit her eighth home run of the year in Tech's 3-1 loss Thursday evening.
April 5, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. - Texas Tech had its 13-game winning streak snapped Thursday evening as Oklahoma overcame an early Sandy James home run to take a 3-1 series-opening victory at the OU Softball Complex.
James' home run, a two-out solo shot in the first, was the only hit Tech (30-8; 3-3) would get off Oklahoma starter Keilani Rickets as the left-hander recorded her second-straight solid outing in a series opener.
After throwing a perfect game against Kansas last Friday night, Ricketts (18-4) retired 16-straight to end the game after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second, Tech's last real scoring threat in the game.
Ricketts overcame two walks and a hit batter in the second to get of the jam as she struck out Mikey Kenney to end the frame. Tech, which struck out 11 times in the game, did not put a runner on base over the final five innings.
The one-hitter marked the second thrown against Tech this season as Texas State also tossed a one-hit gem against the Red Raiders on Feb. 26 in the finale of the Texas Shootout in Waco.
Tech starter Cara Custer was equally effective early as she set the Sooners (31-4; 7-1) down in order in the first before Oklahoma began to threaten an inning later. Oklahoma loaded the bases in the second and then put two on in the third, only to strand all five runners as Custer made her way out of both innings.
The Sooners finally got to the freshman in the fourth, though, as Brittany Williams hit a bases-loaded comebacker to the mound, giving Custer only a shot at first to record an out. Tech got out of the inning a few minutes later as Ashley Hamada robbed Lauren Chamberlain of a base hit with a diving catch in shallow right field.
After Ricketts shut down the Red Raiders to start the fifth, head coach Shanon Hays turned to southpaw Kelsey Dennis to start the bottom half in the circle, favoring the matchups as the first two hitters due up were left-handed.
Dennis, though, walked Ricketts to lead off the inning and then gave up a first-pitch single to Jessica Shults. The senior could not get out of trouble from there, either, as she picked up a Georgia Casey bunt attempt and threw low to Logan Hall at first to allow Ricketts to scamper home on the error.
The Sooners added one more run in the inning off a fielder's choice by Brianna Turang. None of Oklahoma's three runs in the game came off a hit.
Dennis (2-1) took the loss for the Red Raiders, her first of the season, after giving up the two runs in the fifth. Custer returned later in the inning to eventually finish the game as she allowed one run off seven hits in 5.2 innings of work while earning a no-decision.
The two teams resume the series at 7 p.m. Friday evening from the OU Softball Complex.