March 4, 2011
Norman, Okla. -
The 10th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to break open a close game and hand the 24th-ranked Auburn softball team its first loss of the season with a 6-0 victory over the Tigers.
The loss snapped Auburn's 15-game winning streak and dropped the Tigers' record to 15-1. Oklahoma improved to 14-5 with the victory. Auburn will play Illinois-Chicago at 10 a.m. and No. 19 Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
"This was a tough loss for our team," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "You have to give credit to Oklahoma, they took advantage of what we gave them. They are a good team and their pitcher did a great job tonight."
Auburn starting pitcher Jenee Loree (3-1) took the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits in 4.1 innings of work. Loree walked three and struck out four. The three walks for Loree were a season high. Loree entered the game having not issued a walk in her last 15.1 innings of work.
Bunner tossed the final 1.2 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on two hits with four walks and no strikeouts. The four walks were single-game career high for Bunner.
Ricketts improved to 7-2 in throwing a complete game. Ricketts allowed three hits, walked three and struck out 11 to earn the victory.
The Tigers missed a scoring opportunity in the first inning as they had runners at second and third with no outs. Lauren Guzman reached on a fielding error by first baseman Chana'e Jones. Morgan Estell followed with a walk to put the first two hitters of the game on base.
Guzman and Estell each advanced a base on a double steal to put runners at second and third. Ricketts, however, would retire the next three Auburn hitters on a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning.
Auburn put the leadoff hitter on to start the second inning when Amber Harrison drew a walk. Hilary Mavromat followed, but struck out on a missed bunt attempt. With Katie Colton at the plate, Harrison was ruled out for leaving the bag too early for the second out of the inning. Colton was then called out on strikes to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Brianna Turang led off and was ruled to have been hit by a pitch. Dani Dobbs's sac bunt was successful and moved Turang to second. After a pop up for the second out, Destinee Martinez hit a ground ball to short that Guzman fielded, but was ruled to have missed on an attempted tag of Turang who was running to third.
Martinez reached first with no throw to put runners on the corners with two outs. On a wild pitch that went to the backstop, Turang broke for home. But catcher Elizabeth Eisterhold retrieved the ball on a bounce off the back stop and flipped to Loree covering home who applied the tag to end the inning without a run scoring.
Oklahoma got the first hits and runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brittany Williams drew a leadoff walk and came in to score on a double to the wall in center by Jessica Shults. Schults' double was the first hit for either team and gave the Sooners a 1-0 lead. After a walk to Haley Nix put runners on first and third with no outs, pinch-hitter Katie Norris hit into a 4-6-3 double-play which allowed Shults to score for a 2-0 Oklahoma lead.
Caitlin Stangl got the Tigers' first hit of the game with an infield single to third with two outs in the top of the fifth. Guzman followed with a sharp single to right to put runners at first and second. But, Ricketts ended the threat by striking out Estell on a 2-2 pitch. It was Ricketts' ninth strikeout of the game and left Stangl and Guzman on base, running the Auburn total to five runners left stranded through the first five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dobbs was hit by a pitch and Martinez drew a one-out walk to put runners at first and second. Martinez's walk chased Loree from the game. Bunner came in and walked the first batter she faced, Williams, to load the bases with just one out. Shults followed with an infield pop-up that was missed by Kelsey Cartwright at second. Shults was out on the infield fly rule, but Dobbs was able to score on the play as Cartwright recovered the missed ball and fired wildly to home. Dobbs' unearned run gave the Sooners a 3-0 lead after five innings of play.
The Sooners broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning. After walks to Ricketts and Jones to open the inning, Dobbs delivered a one-out double to left-center to score both runners and give the Sooners a 5-0 lead. A two-out, infield single by Martinez put runners at first and third. Bunner then delivered a wild pitch allowing Dobbs to score for the final 6-0 margin.