NORMAN, Okla. - The Marist softball team fell in its first game of the Norman Regional on Friday evening to the top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners. Facing off with a powerful Sooners (48-4) squad, the Red Foxes (30-25) were defeated in five innings by a score of 17-0.
Freshman Kyrsten Van Natta (Maplewood, N.J.) led the Red Foxes, who had three baserunners in the contest with a 1-for-2 showing at the plate.
In the circle, sophomore reliever Melanie White (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) tossed 1.2 innings of hitless and scoreless ball after coming in the third inning.
Matched up against Oklahoma's All-American pitcher Keilani Ricketts the Red Foxes knew they would be in for an up-hill battle, but showed almost immediately that wouldn't go down without a fight. In the top of the first inning, senior Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) took a Ricketts offering to opposite field and if not for an outstretched leaping stab by the right fielder Callie Parsons, she would have had the first hit of the game.
After freshman Nicole Cheek (Simi Valley, Calif.) lost her seven-pitch encounter with Ricketts to end the inning, the Sooners came out in the bottom of the frame and plated eight runs on five hits, two walks and two Red Fox errors.
In the top of the second inning, Van Natta notched the Red Foxes’ first hit off of Ricketts as she singled through the right side of the infield.
In the bottom of the same inning, Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.) was the star as the freshman center fielder made a home run robbing catch over the outfield wall on a Jessica Shults drive. Two batters later, she was at it again as she made an athletic play on a Destinee Martinez fly ball. Unfortunately for Duddy and the Red Foxes, Ricketts would come in on a tag up on that sacrifice fly to make it 9-0 in favor of the Sooners.
Oklahoma extended its lead further in the third inning with eight runs.
After coming in relief in the bottom of the third with runners on second and third, White shut down the Sooners with a ground out back to the circle and a strike out of Erin Miller looking.
She would continue her success in the bottom of the fourth inning by retiring Oklahoma on a line out, swinging strike out and ground out.
Sophomore Taylor Kuzma (Freehold, N.J.) would earn Marist’s second walk of the game off of Oklahoma reliever Michelle Gascoigne in the fifth inning; earlier in the fourth Cheek drew a full count base on balls.
With the day’s results, Oklahoma moves onto Saturday’s winner’s bracket game at 2 pm ET/1 pm CT versus the second-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks, while Marist will take on Fordham in an elimination game at 4:30 pm ET/3:30 CT. The winner of the Marist-Fordham matchup and loser of the Oklahoma-Arkansas game will play in the day’s second elimination game at 7 pm ET/6 pm CT.
Fordham lost to Arkansas earlier Friday by a score of 5-1.