Oklahoma’s been a tough team to figure out this season.
The Sooners can look bad at home, look great on the road, look great at home, look bad on the road. They can swing big bats for run rules, or get shut out by a team like Cal-State Northridge.
They can have one of the greatest pitching performances in school history one night, only to give up home runs the next game in a tough loss.
OU was definitely in a trough of this year’s roller-coaster ride last Wednesday night after falling on the road to Oklahoma State.
But a weekend trip to usually tough Texas A&M put the Sooners (31-9, 5-2 Big 12) right back at the top of the crest.
“Any time you take a loss like that, especially Bedlam, it kind of fuels the fire,” OU third baseman Dani Dobbs said. “It was a tough game. It wasn’t like we weren’t prepared, it just made us fight even harder (at Texas A&M).”
In fact, OU went down to College Station and dominated the Aggies, winnning the two games by a combined score of 15-4.
Sometimes, the Sooners seem to play their best ball coming off an emotional loss. Like when Missouri came back to beat them March 27, and OU turned around the next day and run-ruled the third-ranked Tigers 9-0.
Or like that trip down to A&M.
“I really think that loss to OSU was a wake-up call,” outfielder Chana’e Jones said. “At A&M, we went in and hammered them. That’s the way we should be hitting all the time.”
With a pitcher like freshman Keilani Ricketts leading the team in the circle, OU’s bats need to make some noise.
When Ricketts is on, she’s almost unhittable. But she takes chances, and sometimes opponents can take her deep. It’s an equation worth betting on for OU coach Patty Gasso. You want Ricketts throwing BBs, and you’ll take the chance at the long ball. But you need your hitters to respond and give the pitcher some help when that happens.
“We’re coming around,” Jones said. “Hitting like we did at A&M, that just comes out of confidence. We’re getting it back. We’re feeding off each other and holding each other accountable. That’s really going to help us.”
Tonight the Sooners host Texas Tech in a doubleheader at Marita Hynes Field that starts at 5 p.m. No, the Red Raiders aren’t exactly one of the conference’s elite squads. No, there’s no major rivalry.
But the Sooners can’t afford to let Tech get them when they’re on the downslide of the roller coaster.
OSU and A&M were last week. Texas visits Saturday and Sunday.
There’s a natural urge for OU to look back and ahead, past the Red Raiders (30-9, 2-5) and the threat they bring to the ballpark.
“You never want to underestimate a team,” Dobbs said. “We approach it like we approach any game.”
If that’s true, then the Sooners are getting the hang of things this season. If they go out and beat Tech, they’ll still be in the hunt for their second straight Big 12 regular-season title. It was nine years between the last two they won.
The Cowgirls sat atop the standings heading into Wednesday’s games at 4-0 in conference.
Missouri’s right up there, too.
But OU still has a game left with OSU, at home, and that split with Mizzou might help them in the end.
“We just have to take care of business, hope we get some help,” Dobbs said. “We just have to take care of what we can take care of.”
Jeff Johncox 366-3535 email@example.com