The top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners will be looking to punch a ticket to their 13th Women’s College World Series when they host 16th-seeded Northwestern in the Norman Super Regional this weekend.
OU arrived to the Norman Super Regional by defending their home turf last weekend against the field of Notre Dame, UMBC, and Wisconsin. The Wildcats did the same by winning the Evanston Regional over Detroit Mercy, Louisville, and Southern Illinois.
Friday’s opener (2:00 PM) will be broadcast on ESPN2, with Saturday (3:00 PM) and Sunday (1:00 PM – if necessary) scheduled to be on ESPN. Every game can be heard on the radio at 1560 AM in Norman or online through the Franchise 2.
This season marks Oklahoma’s 26th consecutive appearance in the NCAA postseason, including all 25 years under head coach Patty Gasso. Only Arizona is on a longer streak (33 straight), while the Sooners are tied with Washington for second-longest run.
OU is making its 13th overall appearance in the Super Regionals since the format was introduced in 2005. Only Alabama (15) and Arizona (14) been to more Supers. The Sooners have made each of the last 10 Super Regionals, the second-longest active streak behind Alabama’s 15.
This is the seventh time for OU to host a Super Regional. The Sooners are 10-3 in Super Regional play in Norman. When hosting, Oklahoma has reached the Women’s College World Series five times (2012, ’13, ’14, ’16, ’18) and have only had a season end in a Norman Super Regional once (2007).
Number 1 In More Than Just The Polls
For the second time in program history, the Sooners entered the NCAA Softball Tournament as the No. 1 seed. The feat was also accomplished in 2013, when OU went on to earn its second national championship.
Oklahoma also leads the nation in the following statistical categories: batting average (.359), earned run average (1.10), fielding percentage (.98), home runs per game (1.87), on-base percentage (.449), shutouts (26), slugging percentage (.661), strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.01) and win-loss percentage (.945).
Second Trip To Norman
The Sooners and the Wildcats have already met twice in 2019 as Northwestern traveled to Norman in March for OU’s Home Tournament. The Sooners won both meetings, 7-0 (March 8) and 8-0 in five innings (March 10).
In the first game, Grace Lyons, Sydney Romero, Shay Knighten and Kylie Lundberg all homered as Giselle Juarez and Shannon Saile combined on the shutout. In the rematch, Falepolima Aviu went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run; Lyons and Lynnsie Elam also went yard. Juarez combined with Nicole Mendes for the shutout.
A Historic Moment On The Horizon
The Sooners need just four more home runs to match the program single-season record, 107.
Dominance From The Circle
The Oklahoma pitching staff is currently leading Division I softball in ERA (1.10), shutouts (26) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.01).
All three primary pitchers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in ERA. Mariah Lopez ranks fourth (1.04), Shannon Saile is eighth (1.14), and Giselle Juarez sits in 10th (1.15).
Saile, Juarez and Lopez rank 1-2-3 in the Big 12, respectively, in strikeouts per seven innings pitched. Nationally, Saile (11.4 K/7 IP) holds second, Juarez (10.4) is fourth and Lopez (9.8) is eighth.
Power From The Plate
The Sooners have run-ruled 25 opponents and shut out 26 in 2019, outscoring foes 426-61. They have won 39 games by at least five runs and have hit multiple home runs in 31 games.