On Feb. 21, the Oklahoma Sooners shut out the Arizona Wildcats in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, 5-0. While it was a strong pitcher’s battle for much of the game, it was one batter who was, not only the hero of the game, but a brand new record holder for the OU softball team.
Senior Jessica Shultz came up to bat in the fifth inning, with OU barely holding onto a 1-0 lead. On a 1-1 count, Shultz blasted the ball over the right field wall, putting OU up 2-0 and breaking the record for home runs for both the University of Oklahoma and the Big 12 Conference. It was her third long ball of the year, and the 57th of her career.
Coming into the game Shultz was tied with the Texas Longhorns’ Megan Gibson and the Sooners’ Amber Flores at 56.
The home run started a four run inning for Oklahoma, who completely took Arizona pitcher Estela Pinon out of the game. OU pitcher Keilani Ricketts came up to bat next and blasted a homer of her own over the left field wall, her third long ball of the season. Sophomore Jessica Vest hit the third home run of the inning, a two-run shot to put OU up 5-0, the eventual final score of the contest.
Ricketts wasn’t the starting pitcher in the game, batting as a DP instead. Instead, Michelle Gascoigne got the start and pitched seven scoreless innings, only giving up three hits in the game while striking out 12 batters.
The win improved the No. 1 ranked OU softball squad to a 12-0 record. Arizona was ranked 19th coming in and OU is now 6-0 against ranked teams, shutting out every one of them. OU outscored their ranked opponents 41-0 so far this season.
The Oklahoma Sooners are back with a pair of games on Friday. First is a contest against UC Santa Barbara at 5:30 p.m. CST, followed by a game against Nebraska at 8 p.m. CST.