NORMAN — On the day she earned her 116th win to become the winningest pitcher in Oklahoma history, Keilani Ricketts showed Baylor exactly why she’s the defending USA Softball player of the year.
The senior allowed just four hits in a complete-game shutout of No. 17 Baylor, and top-ranked OU did enough at the plate to pull out a 8-0 six-inning run-rule victory to sweep the first Big 12 series of the season.
Ricketts was at her best for much of the day Sunday, going perfect through three innings while the Sooners (34-2, 3-0) took control of the game. She finished with five strikeouts, frustrating the Baylor (29-10, 3-5) lineup for the third day in a row. The win moved Ricketts past Jennifer Stewart into sole possession of first place on the all-time wins list in program history.
“This means a lot with the tradition of excellence here, to be in that category,” Ricketts said. “I knew they were going to be a lot more patient at the plate because I wasn’t getting ahead in the count in the last two games. So today I focused on that.”
Coach Patty Gasso referred to Ricketts as “a legend,” and said she was honored to be part of her career.
“She’s one of the most special players that softball will see for a long, long time,” she said. “It’s been really fun to watch her progression from a freshman. She’s worked hard to get better every year and it’s so enjoyable to watch her progress that way and be a leader of this team on the field.”
On Sunday, Ricketts got plenty of help from her teammates, as the Sooners had no issue connecting against starting pitcher Whitney Canion. Six of the first eight Sooner batters to face Canion made hit the ball deep into the outfield, including a solo home by Shelby Pendley, while the other two batters walked.