OKLAHOMA CITY - A lot of the same for the Sooners on Thursday in the opening game of the Women's College World Series.
And that's a good thing. It means another win.
Once again, pitcher Keilani Ricketts dominated and once again Lauren Chamberlain homered. Oh, and it's the postseason, and that means Brianna Turang kept her streak going, too.
All of it resulted in a 5-1 win over South Florida at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium and all of it means the Sooners move on in the winner's bracket. They will face the Cal-LSU winner at 6 p.m. Friday.
"What's important, in this first game, no matter what these guys tell you, there's nerves out there," OU coach Patty Gasso said. "Everybody is feeling it. We're wanting to put on a good show. The goal is to keep them in tune with what they're good at. It's keeping emotions in check. Stay positive and keep working at it. It can mess you up if your emotions take over."
The nerves were evident early on as OU didn't have a hit through the first three innings. And when South Florida's Kourtney Salvarola drove in a run with an RBI single, not only were the Sooners down, but they were scuffling.
"You have to know how to answer," Gasso said. "That's what stuck out to me is how we answered immediately. We had a strategy. We had a game plan."
Destinee Martinez led off the Sooner fourth inning with a hit -- the first of the game for OU -- and Chamberlain smashed a home run deep over the centerfield fence, giving the Sooners a 2-1 lead. Chamberlain had two hits and scored twice.
"I was struggling in my first at bat," Chamberlain said. "I tried to keep the same approach. The second time around I didn't want to get cheated."
And then back to Ricketts:
She struck out 11, the most by an OU pitcher in WCWS history and added an RBI triple. Chamberlain hit her 28th home run of the season which rallied OU from a 1-0 deficit and Turang reached base for the 14th time in 17 plate appearances this postseason.
She has 10 hits in OU's six games in the NCAA tournament.
Ricketts improved to 34-7 and now has 33 innings in a row without allowing an earned run.
And once again, OU had little trouble with its offense. After the home run put the Sooners ahead in the fourth, OU scored three more times in the sixth inning on three hits. USF changed pitchers four times in the inning
"You could tell we were nervous," Ricketts said. "You can't come in too nervous or tight. As we started to settle in we started to see the pitches better."
The Sooners have trailed just twice this postseason, once against Tulsa in the second game of the regional and then Thursday against South Florida. Despite falling behind, OU combined to win those two games 12-2.
"We just talked about sticking to our gameplan," Chamberlain said. "We shortened our swings and got used to her (USF pitcher Sara Nevins) speed."
That gameplan has been to rely on Ricketts' pitching and wait for Chamberlain and the offense to come through.
It worked again Thursday. It's worked all season as the Sooners improved to 51-8 on the year.
"What we did before was good enough to get here," Ricketts said. "Let the little things go. That's what works. I was confident with my pitches and I had to stick with the gameplan no matter what."