Ricketts no-hits Michigan, OU captures opener

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Sooners are off on the right track if they're to realize their ultimate goal of winning a national championship, defeating Michigan 7-1 behind a no-hitter from Keilani Ricketts in Women's College World Series opening round action Thursday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

It was one of the most silent no-hitters imaginable—the seventh of her career and 16th in WCWS history—as she struck out 12 and recorded another complete game, moving to 32-1.

"Any athlete that's here needs to be ready to play, and Keilani was locked in and ready to play," said OU head coach Patty Gasso. "There was no doubt that she was in control pretty early throughout the game."

The Sooners trailed for the first time all postseason, but it just looked like they were teasing yet another opponent.

After Michigan plated the first run in the third courtesy of a couple OU miscues, OU bounced back with a quick four-spot in the bottom half.

Second baseman Georgia Casey and designated player Brittany Williams each notched RBI singles, then catcher Jessica Shults broke out of her recent slump with a two-run single over second.

"Yeah, like you said, I haven't been having the postseason I wanted," Shults said. "But trying to make things happen for my team and get a hit and just be on the ball a little bit better, I feel like this is the time I want to do it."

First baseman Lauren Chamberlain sent a monster two-run shot, perhaps one of the most prolific homers ever in WCWS history, to dead center the following inning to make it 6-1.

"When I hit it, well, I don't really feel it," Chamberlain said. "So, I don't know if it felt like the hardest one I've ever hit, but it felt good."

Right fielder Callie Parsons got in on the action in the fifth with her RBI single.

It was all around yet another case of OU just outmanning its opponent.

"Well, once Michigan scored, that kind of woke us up a little because we knew they were going to be scoring runs," Ricketts said. "They were scoring runs all year against everybody, and we knew we had to respond back to that. And my defense was amazing behind me.

"Jess was phenomenal behind the plate, and our defense was making plays in the gap and getting balls that would have been hit. I was just able to feed off them tonight."

The victory sets up yet another Red River Rivalry contest, the fourth of this season.

"We're excited," Gasso said. "We're very much looking forward to this, yeah."

OU took two of the previous three in Austin.

The Sooners will now try to make that three out of four en route to making the bracket championship when the two meet at 8:30 p.m. CT Friday.

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