OKLAHOMA CITY — Keilani Ricketts homered and drove in four runs, Michelle Gascoigne pitched a three-hit shutout and top-seeded Oklahoma won the NCAA softball championship by beating Tennessee 4-0 on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the best-of-three Women’s College World Series finals.
Ricketts, the national player of the year, drove a 2-1 pitch from Ivy Renfroe (22-5) halfway up the right-field bleachers for a three-run home run in the third inning and added an RBI ground out in the seventh.
Ricketts got the night off in the circle after throwing a career-high 12 innings in Game 1 and moving to 35-1 on the season, but that just put the other half of her game on display. She hit her 15th home run of the season and pushed her RBI total to 60.
“After (losing in) last year’s national-championship game, it definitely gave us one of the most painful feelings I’m sure all of us have ever felt,” said Ricketts, who was chosen as the most outstanding player of the World Series. “That just gave us so much drive and determination to get back to this moment.”
No. 7 seed Tennessee (52-12) managed a mere three singles against Gascoigne (19-3), who struck out 12 and didn’t walk anyone for Oklahoma (57-4), which also won it all in 2000.
The Sooners, who beat Washington 6-2 to advance to the finals, were a dominant force all season, carrying the No. 1 ranking from week one and leading the nation in scoring and earned-run average.
“They are an amazing team,” said Ralph Weekly, Tennessee’s co-head coach. “I spent nine years with our national team, and I think that Oklahoma team would have beaten most of the other countries that we played, even the great ones. I don’t know if they’d have beaten the U.S. But I’ll tell you what, they’re a great team.”