May 25, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -
TUCSON, Ariz. - Thirteenth-seeded Arizona (38-18) will have to sweep Saturday's doubleheader to continue its season after fourth-seeded Oklahoma (49-8) beat the Cats 6-0 on Friday.
Arizona recorded seven hits and had runners in scoring position in each of the three first innings but could not score. UA did not have an extra-base hit in the game.
OU hurler Keilani Ricketts dealt the complete-game shutout that included nine strikeouts and just one walk. Ricketts improved to 32-8 on the season.
Arizona starter Shelby Babcock allowed six runs on eight hits in the loss. Babcock walked four, hit three and struck out six in her complete-game effort. Babcock fell to 21-10 on the season.
Brigette Del Ponte went 2-for-3 on the day, the only Wildcat to record multiple hits on the day. With the performance, Del Ponte improved to 9-for-12 in this year's postseason.
Oklahoma used four extra-base hits, including solo homers by Ricketts and Katie Norris.
The 6-0 score is the exact score of game one of the 2011 NCAA Super Regional against Oklahoma, which the Sooners would go on to win.
Oklahoma opened the scoring in the first when Lauren Chamberlain registered a pair of RBI. Babcock's first pitch of the game struck Georgia Casey and UA misplayed Destinee Martinez's sac attempt, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Chamberlain rocketed a ball to the left-centerfield gap to score a pair and scurried to third on the throw home. Babcock would get the next three to strand Chamberlain at third.
Arizona had runners at first and second with one out in both the first and second innings, but could not score. In the first, Lini Koria grounded into a 1-5-3 DP and in the second, Ricketts struck out the final two batters of the frame.
Likewise, the Sooners used two Babcock HBP to put runners on first and second with one out. After a strikeout, Martinez singled to load the bases for Chamberlain. The freshman drew a walk to drive in her third run of the game. Babcock would strikeout Ricketts to end the threat.
The Sooners added to their lead in the fourth inning when nine-hole hitter flared a bases-loaded single past a diving attempt by second baseman Kristen Arriola. For the second straight inning, Babcock left them loaded, this time by inducing two pop ups.
OU padded its lead in the fifth and sixth innings with solo homers from Norris and Ricketts, respectively.
A single, error and walk loaded the bases for Arizona with two out in the seventh inning, but Ricketts' ninth strikeout ended the game.
UA and Oklahoma will meet Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Arizona will need to beat Oklahoma twice to advance while Oklahoma needs only one win. Should the Wildcats win the first game, the third and final game of the series would begin at 1:30 p.m. CDT. All of Saturday's action will be broadcast on ESPN.
Head Coach Mike Candrea on the team's mindset going into Saturday:
Candrea on freshman shortstop Shelby Pendley:
Brigette Del Ponte discusses Keilani Ricketts' effectiveness in the circle:
Shelby Babcock on her performance: