NORMAN — When Michelle Gascoigne arrived Oklahoma from Benicia, Calif. in 2009, it turned out not to be exactly what the four-time MVP of her high school team expected.
“She had been the queen of her area in high school,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “I think she expected to be able to do that here, too. But she came in and got shelled. It was emotional and hard for her that first year.”
That experience ignited four years of hard work for Gascoigne. She threw herself into workouts, practices, tweaking and perfecting, all the while playing alongside the highly-touted and reigning USA Softball Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts.
But even as Ricketts accumulated the accolades, Gascoigne quietly continued to improve, going from seven wins her freshman season to a 16-1 record last year as she developed into a pitcher good enough to handle the primary duties at almost any school.
But even that was just a precursor to her senior year. Gascoigne has tallied a 15-1 record for No. 1 Oklahoma, and she leads in the nation with an earned run average of just 0.85. Gascoigne and Ricketts have split the pitching duties evenly as the Sooners have gotten off to the best start in program history at 37-2.
“Everyone wants to go into their senior year and leave it all out on the field,” she said. “It’s been great, and it’s flying by. I didn’t imagine that it would be this good, so I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
It’s an approach that has worked to perfection for Gascoigne and the Sooners. The one-two punch of Ricketts and Gascoigne — or, as Gasso calls it, the 1-A and 1-B punch — has frustrated opposing lineups all season, and Gasso expects it to do the same when the Sooners meet Oklahoma State in a Bedlam matchup at 7 p.m. today at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.