"Coming out here and having people here that have been affected by the tornado with, you know, everything that's been going on, I think we're using them as kind of a strength," said left fielder Brianna Turang, who finished a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. "And obviously we want to win for everyone here, and so hopefully [we're] bringing that joy to our state and continue to represent just because everyone fights for each other here, not just on the field but also off the field."
A shortened game certainly came out of nowhere, considering how it was trending.
Leading 3-2 in a tightly contested game heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Sooners posted a seven-spot to walk off before A&M was able to use its final at bat.
Fellow Player of the Year candidate Ricketts' three-run smash over the left field wall did the rest of the trick to polish things off.
"I think there's not a lot of pressure on us," Ricketts said. "We're not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, and we're just trusting that that inning's gonna come where we could let it open."
Ricketts was mostly dominant in the circle as well in getting her team to that point.
She fanned 13, making the first five look silly to start the contest.
"I think we were just trying to set the tone early because we know that A&M's been great hitters all year long," Ricketts said. "And I was just trying to get ahead early in the count because they're patient earlier in the game. So, I think that helped by setting the tone the first two innings."
In between, though, the Aggies got to her some.
A pair of solo jacks from catcher Meagan May and cleanup hitter Cali Lanphear helped trim OU's early three-run edge to just 3-2.
But Ricketts settled down and worked back into her groove after each of those.
She helped her own cause in the bottom of the first with an RBI single, and OU added two more in the second by virtue of back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Turang and Chamberlain.
"I was just trying to focus on finding my pitch and hitting the ball where I need it to go," Turang said. "And I think having to be kind of in front of Lauren in some innings is competition for me because my goal is to get on base for her or to get the bat in her hands. And so I think that's something I focus on the most and just trying to do anything I can to get on base because that's my job."
At that point, it was 3-0 and OU looked to be in complete command, though a run rule still looked quite unexpected.
"I love how we came out right off the bat," said OU assistant coach Melissa Lombardi, filling in for head coach Patty Gasso as she attended her child's graduation. "We got on and moved our runners over, and then Ricketts came up and got a clutch hit. Later in the game, same thing, just getting our runners on and being clutch."
The Sooners lost some of that stranglehold, but stayed in control before their sixth-inning explosion to close it.
Now, any kind of victory tomorrow would send the Sooners back to Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, and they'll try to get the first and leave no doubt when the two teams return to the field at 11 a.m. CT.
An if-necessary game is slated for 2 p.m. or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game should A&M win.