- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oklahoma is one win away from the Women’s College World Series. The Sooners defeated Arizona 6-0 on Friday afternoon to take command of the Norman Super Regional at OU Softball Complex. OU advances to the WCWS with a win on Saturday, while Arizona would have to win games 2 and game 3 to earn a WCWS berth.
Turning point: The Sooners got out of the first inning without allowing a run after a clutch third-to-first double play with two Arizona runners on base with one out. It was the only double play of the game. OU went on to score two runs in the bottom of the inning then controlled the game throughout.
Player of the game: Keilani Ricketts. The Sooners starting pitcher scored more runs than she gave up. She pitched a complete game shutout and added a home run in the sixth inning. The junior allowed seven hits while striking out nine batters. Ricketts secured her 32nd win (32-7 overall record) and 16th home run in the victory.
Unsung hero of the game: Lauren Chamberlain. After Georgia Casey and Destinee Martinez got on base to start the game, the freshman’s two-run double in the first inning set the tone for the Sooners. OU scored in five of its six innings and the first was OU’s lone multiple-run inning. She was 1 for 3 and had three of OU’s six RBIs in the game.
Stat of the game: Zero Arizona runs. It was Ricketts' second-straight shut out and she has allowed just one run in three games since the NCAA tournament began.
Missed opportunity: Arizona left 10 runners on base in its loss. The Wildcats left runners on base in the first three innings, while the Sooners put up four runs in the same span.
What it means: The Sooners are one win away from a berth in the Women’s College World Series. OU appears to be peaking at the right time having won seven straight games.
Quotable: “Lauren opening it up with a hard shot to left center, set the tone. It was very important that we came out fast.” -- OU softball coach Patty Gasso.
“In my eyes, she’s probably one of the best pitchers in the country right now.” -- Arizona coach Mike Candrea on Ricketts.
“I just wanted to come up big for them, they worked so hard to get on.” -- Chamberlain on her two-run double after Casey and Martinez got on base with no outs in the first inning.
“They got runners on [base] every inning, it was tough getting out of those situations but the defense came up with key plays.” -- Ricketts on holding the Wildcats scoreless despite several scoring threats.
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