It's rare the instance in which, as a fan, you question a Hall of Fame coach like Oklahoma's Patty Gasso. And yet when she made the call to pull her All-American ace Keilani Ricketts with one out in the seventh it was hard not to question the move.
Well, there is a reason Gasso is in the Hall of Fame and we're all watching from the couch. Michelle Gascoigne came on in relief of Ricketts and while there was a little bit of drama, she managed to secure the final two outs and with them a series victory for the Sooners.
Any win over any Texas team is always a good one for OU fans, but this weekend's series victory is made all the more impressive because of how little Oklahoma got from their best hitters. Lauren Chamberlain, Jessica Shults, and Ricketts had a weekend to forget at the plate. Between the three, they had a single hit (a Shults solo home run) the entire weekend. And yet even in spite of that the Sooners were able to pull out the win.
Credit to players like Destinee Martinez and Brianna Turang who are very talented in their own right, but aren't typically who you're counting on for your offense. You could make a pretty compelling argument that Turang was Oklahoma's most valuable player (at least offensively) this weekend. It's also worth mentioning that Shelby Pendley, who belongs in that same group as a Ricketts or Chamberlain, broke out of a slump today and sent two over the right field fence.
It would be one thing if one or two of OU's big boppers struggled this weekend, but when all of them hit a cold streak at the same time it's something most teams would not be able to overcome. Of course that's exactly why this squad is the consensus No. 1 team in the country. Because they're more than just Chamberlain, or just Ricketts. They are a true team, from top to bottom, in every sense of the word and that was on display Sunday.
It was tense there at the end, but with the win Oklahoma took back sole possession of first place in the Big 12. And barring some kind of mishap should be well on their way to another conference title.
The Sooners return to action with a mid-week game Tuesday against North Texas before heading home to Norman for their final regular season home stand against Iowa State.