The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 25, 2011

Not ready to back down

NORMAN — Oklahoma likes its chances at this weekend’s Tucson Super Regional, where the Sooners meet Arizona beginning 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Playing maybe the most storied program in the women’s college game on its home field — Rita Hillenbrand Stadium — is hardly a treat, but it shouldn’t be scary.

The Sooners have played the Wildcats twice this season and won twice. Even better, OU beat Arizona’s ace, Kenzi Fowler, on a day they did not throw their own ace, Keilani Ricketts (27-13, 1.46 earned run average).

OU and Arizona first met in 2011 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Feb. 12, the Sooners crushed the Wildcats 11-1 in five innings.

Dani Dobbs and Ricketts both hit home runs. In the circle, Ricketts allowed two hits and struck out 10. Discounting OU’s 10-hit attack is the fact the Sooners beat Shelby Babcock (17-8, 4.01 ERA), who they likely won’t face Friday or Saturday.

The Wildcat ace is Fowler (26-7, 1.65 ERA), who just allowed two runs in 19 innings at the Tucson Regional.

But OU has beaten her, too.

That came March 17 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., where OU prevailed 5-3, just before both programs entered conference play.

OU got to Fowler for five runs, three earned, on eight hits. Michelle Gascoigne (9-3, 2.66 ERA) allowed six Wildcat hits and one earned run over six innings, before Ricketts closed.

“We have faced them before … It’s a different beast, though, going to their place,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “(But) our team seems to step up, especially against Pac-10 teams.”

What about now?

In the afterglow of claiming the Norman Regional, OU (41-17, 10-8 Big 12, 3-1 NCAA) liked where it stood.

“I think we need to take this momentum into Arizona and keeping our confidence up will really help,” OU second baseman Brianna Turang said. “I mean, we have (beaten Arizona) twice, so we know that we can do it.”

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