SEATTLE – Amber Flores entered Thursday’s Regional opener 0-for-10 in the last four games. None of it mattered in the top of the first inning when the senior gave Oklahoma an early 1-0 lead over defending national champion Washington. It was just the beginning for the 14th-seeded Sooners as OU chased Husky starter Danielle Lawrie after five innings.
Flores went yard three times, a first-ever for an Oklahoma player in a single game, and the Sooners took down the No. 3 seed Huskies, 6-1, in the first game of a best two-out-of-three series in front of a sold-out 1,662 at Husky Softball Stadium. Dani Dobbs and Jessica Shults each added solo home runs as the Sooners knocked eight hits and a season-high five earned runs off Lawrie en route to the win. Oklahoma moved to 47-10 on the year, while the Huskies fell to 48-7.
After Flores’ first long ball, OU added a second run in the first when Lindsey Vandever capitalized following a single. On Vandever’s steal attempt, Shawna Wright’s attempted throw went all the way to the center field fence allowing Vandever to round the bases.
Flores added her second home run in the third and OU’s bats exploded for three home runs in the fifth. Dobbs hit her fourth of the season and Flores followed with her third of the game. Shults then went back-to-back to push OU ahead 6-0.
The Huskies avoided the shutout in the bottom of the seventh. Wright reached on an error and pinch runner Bailey Stenson moved to second on a groundout. Stenson then scored on a Taylor Smith single through the left side before the game ended.
Flores’ career home run total stands at 56, tying Texas A&M’s Megan Gibson (2005-08) for the Big 12 career record. She ended the game 3-for-3 with one walk in her final plate appearance. Shults went 2-for-4 with the solo home run.
Oklahoma’s five home runs set an Tournament record for the Sooners and were the most allowed by Lawrie in her career.
Keilani Ricketts went the distance for the 28th time this season. Ricketts was perfect through 4.1 innings, allowing the first of her two hits to Jenn Salling on an infield single. She ended the game with just two hits, the other coming from Taylor in the seventh inning.
Ricketts walked three and struck out nine as she did not allow an earned run for the fifth straight game.
Game two of the series is set for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. CT and airs nationally on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza calling the action. Should a deciding game be necessary, it will begin at approximately 10 p.m. CT on ESPN2.