The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 25, 2011

Not ready to back down

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Leaving Norman, much of the talk has been about how the Sooner offense has come to life late in the season. But Arizona remains plenty dangerous. While OU outscored opponents 21-4 at the Norman Regional, Arizona (43-16, 11-10, 3-0) outscored opponents 28-2 at the Tucson Regional.

Stacking up

The Wildcat batting order, at least statistically, looks like a murderers’ row, sporting three players hitting at least .400 and three more with at least 15 home runs.

Karissa Buchanan and Brittany Lastrapes are both hitting .402 and Lauren Shultzler is hitting .400. Power has been provided by Stacie Chambers (.287, 20 HR, 71 RBIs), Bridgette Del Ponte (.341, 17, 59) and Lini Koria (.296, 15, 41).

Destinee Martinez, at .360, is the only Sooners hitting closer to .400 than .300 and OU’s biggest power hitter, Jessica Shults (.342, 19 HR, 58 RBIs) is very questionable after missing the Norman Regional with an undisclosed illness. The rest of OU’s power lies primarily with Brittany Williams (.319, 12, 39) and Ricketts (.293, 11, 42).

Experience

The Sooners believe they’re ready after running a Big 12 gauntlet and they should be. Of the 16 tems remaining in the NCAA softball bracket, five are from the Big 12: OU, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

“I really think the Big 12 has prepared us for this postseason,” senior first baseman Chana’e Jones said. “We have faced Arizona’s pitchers before, but I think that our play against Big 12 teams will really help.”

The Pac-10, though, boasts six teams still standing: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, Cal and Washington.

Still, after all the analysis, somebody must rise to the occasion. Trying to return to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2004, it might be the Sooners.

“They really thrive in a big environment like this,” Gasso said of her players. “I know they’ll be ready.”

Clay Horning 366-3526 cfhorning@normantranscript.com

 

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