OKLAHOMA CITY —
The Tide tacked on another in the fourth before Gasso came and got Ricketts. The five runs allowed tied a season high for the national player of the year. It was only the ninth time this year that Ricketts was unable to go the distance.
“I don’t think any particular soreness was getting to me,” Ricketts said. “I think I was just giving their team momentum and I wasn’t giving my team any momentum. That’s a pitcher’s role. To get those clutch outs for your team.”
Ricketts was replaced by Michelle Gascoigne. She was unable to stop the bleeding. Amanda Locke put Alabama up 8-1 with a three-run double to center.
Traina was in complete control of the Sooners’ offense for six innings. But in the bottom of the seventh, the Sooners finally started swinging their bats.
Shults’ three-run home run cut into Alabama’s lead. Erica Sampson added another run to close the deficit to 8-6 with two outs and Henson at the plate. OU would get no closer as Traina struck out the sophomore to end the game, but not before the Sooners made a statement.
“I think one of the greatest things to happen in this tournament is what we did in the seventh inning,” Gasso said. “Whether we won or lost, the message that we sent, the confidence that we brought, it was probably one of the most proud moments I’ve had with this team in not quitting. They scored five runs off one of the best pitchers in the country, saying we’re going to be back tomorrow.
“We are going to put it all out on the line. We are coming in locked in and ready to fight.”
Michael Kinney 366-3537 email@example.com