Oklahoma, Michigan set for rematch on Sunday


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Kristin Vesely set a school record for
career hits and Savannah Long homered, tripled and stole a base as
Oklahoma beat Kent State 9-1 in five innings on Saturday in the
NCAA Division I softball regionals.
The Sooners (40-20-1) will meet defending national champ
Michigan (42-13) on Sunday. The Wolverines beat Oklahoma 1-0 in
nine innings Saturday, dropping the Sooners to the losers bracket.
Oklahoma will have to beat Michigan twice to advance to an NCAA
Super Regional next weekend.
Oklahoma eliminated the Golden Flashes (33-24) by beating them
twice in two days. The second time was easier than Friday's 1-0
win. Oklahoma got 10 hits and six runs off Kent State starter
Brittney Robinson (31-13), who had allowed just one run in 12
innings in her first two outings this weekend.
Vesely was 3-for-4, including a double, and climbed to 291 on
the school's career hits list, two ahead of the Sooners' three-time
All-American, Lisa Carey. Long was even more of a problem for Kent
State, driving in four runs, including two on a homer to center
After No. 1 starter D.J. Mathis threw 16 innings in two 1-0
games Friday and Saturday, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso called on
Nicole Denes (13-5) to pitch. Denes allowed five hits, including a
single and a double by Whitney Lebowitz.
Mathis and Denes might both get the ball if the Sooners can make
it a doubleheader. To do that, they will have to beat Michigan
standout Jennie Ritter, who has struck out 30 batters in her two
starts this weekend and stretched her shutout streak to 44 innings.
In their game against Michigan on Saturday, Ritter outdueled
Mathis on the mound and Alessandra Giampaolo had another key
extra-base hit for the Wolverines.
Ritter (29-6) allowed three hits, struck out 15 batters for the
second straight day and stretched her scoreless string to 44
innings for the Wolverines.
Giampaolo, the hitting star of Friday's win over Youngstown
State, doubled with one out in the ninth, scoring Rebekah Milian,
who reached base on a single to shortstop and moved to second on
Becky Marx's sacrifice bunt.
An intentional walk to 2005 Women's College World Series hero
Samantha Findlay only served to motivate Giampaolo, who drilled a
mistake pitch over the head of fellow center fielder Kristin
Vesely. Milian scored easily to end the matchup of past WCWS
Mathis (15-8) was almost as sharp as she was in Friday's one-hit
shutout of Kent State. She allowed eight hits and had seven
strikeouts for the Sooners.
Ritter, whose ERA dipped to 0.58, stranded two runners in the
third and sixth innings. Her biggest scare came in the second, when
designated player Samantha Ricketts drilled a shot over the
right-field fence, just foul for a long strike en route to another