MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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May 31, 2013

A case of Ricketts: OU ace strikes out 12, no-hits Michigan at WCWS opener

OKLAHOMA CITY — Michigan struck first — though not the fault of Keilani Ricketts.

The Oklahoma pitcher made sure the Wolverines were done, registering her sixth no-hitter this season in a 7-1 victory in the late game Thursday in the Women’s College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. She struck out 12, including Jaclyn Crummey for the first out in the seventh.

Sierra Lawrence, who walked to begin the final inning, was forced on a near-double play bal with Amy Knapp reaching at first. Leadoff hitter Lyndsay Doyle's hard-hit grounder was fielded by first baseman Lauren Chamberlain, who needed a couple of steps to reach the bag for the final out.

It was the first WCWS no-hitter since May 31, 2007 when Danielle Lawrie of Washington and Monica Abbott of Tennessee threw back-to-back no-hitters.

The only run by the eighth-seeded Wolverines (50-12) was unearned. Lawrence scored on a one-out fielder’s choice after she reached on third baseman Shelby Pendley’s throwing error.

The lead would be brief.

Brianna Turang reached on an throwing error to lead off the Sooners’ third, Lauren Chamberlain singled her to second and both moved up on a wild pitch. Georgia Casey singled through the left side to tie the game, moving Chamberlain to third. Casey then stole second and Ricketts drew an intentional walk.

Brittany Williams’ single to left made it 2-1. Jessica Schults added a pair of runs on a single to right center, and it was off to the races for the tournament’s No. 1 team and top seed, who will take a 53-4 record into a Red River Shootout with Texas (50-8) at 8:30 tonight with a day off Saturday at stake.

Chamberlain made it 6-1 in the fourth with a two-run home run after Turang led off the inning with an infield single. She finished with two of OU’s seven hits.

In the fifth, Schults drew a one-out infield single. Tahlequah grad Erica Sampson pinch-ran for her, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Callie Parsons’ single up the middle, padding the lead to 7-1.

Past the first-inning bump in the road, Ricketts (32-1) sailed along until a walk to Sierra Romero and a hit-batter (Caitlin Blanchard) in the sixth put two on and no out. Ricketts then closed the inning with back-to-back strikeouts on seven pitches, her 10th and 11th of the game.

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