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Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Softball Preview | Here’s What You Need To Know About The WCWS

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

The top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners are looking to win a third national championship in the last four years, and fifth overall, when they begin play at the Women’s College World Series on Thursday night.

OU will open their thirteenth Women’s College World Series against No. 8 seed Alabama (57-8) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. CT.

In their second game of the double-elimination tournament, the Sooners will face No. 5 Florida (49-16) or No. 13 Oklahoma State (44-15). A win over Alabama would have OU playing on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT, while a loss would see Oklahoma play its second game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

A Postseason Tradition

Oklahoma is making its fourth-consecutive appearance in the Women’s College World Series and eighth in the last nine seasons. No other program in the country has made as many trips to Oklahoma City as the Sooners since the 2011 season.

Oklahoma is making its 13th overall appearance at the World Series, the fourth-most showings all-time. The Sooners trail UCLA (29 appearances), Arizona (23) and Washington (14).

This season marks Oklahoma’s 26th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including all 25 years under head coach Patty Gasso. Only Arizona holds a longer active streak (33 straight), while the Sooners are tied with Washington for second-longest run.

Familiar Faces On Oklahoma’s Side Of The Bracket

Thursday night will mark the 10th postseason meeting between Oklahoma and Alabama, and seventh in the Women’s College World Series. The two programs last met in the opening game of the 2016 World Series; OU won 3-0 in eight innings when then-freshman Shay Knighten hit a walk-off, three-run home run.

The last three times Oklahoma and Florida have met was at the Women’s College World Series. In 2018, the Sooners knocked out the Gators with a 2-0 win on Elimination Saturday. In 2017, OU swept the Championship Series against Florida to claim the national title.

The Sooners lead the all-time series with Oklahoma State with an 93-70 record. Oklahoma has more wins over the Cowgirls than any other team in program history and head coach Patty Gasso’s 64 wins over OSU is more than any other coach. OU has won 23 straight in the series and 26 of the past 27 match-ups.

Blasting The Ball

Oklahoma’s offense leads the nation in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.447), runs per game (7.67), slugging percentage (.661) and home runs per game (1.89).

The Sooners have run-ruled 25 opponents and shut out 28 in 2019, outscoring foes 437-61. They have won 40 games by at least five runs and have hit multiple home runs in 32 games.

Historically, the Sooners’ offensive output ranks among the best in program history. Last weekend, the Sooners set the single-season program record with 108 home runs. Additionally, the Sooners are on pace to register their best slugging percentage in school history.

Senior Sydney Romero leads Oklahoma’s batters with an average of .435. She’s blasted 19 home runs this season and knocked in 54 RBI. Both of those are team highs.

Romero (19), Caleigh Clifton (17), Grace Green (16), and Jocelyn Alo (15) have combined for 67 of Oklahoma’s 108 home runs this season.

Dominating The Circle

The OU pitching staff is one of the best in the country in 2019, currently leading Division I softball in ERA (1.06), shutouts (28) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.89).

All three primary pitchers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in ERA. Mariah Lopez ranks second (1.00), Giselle Juarez sixth (1.10) and Shannon Saile is eighth (1.11).

Backing Up The Pitchers

After last weekend, Oklahoma’s defense led the country with a fielding percentage of .987. The Sooners have only committed 17 errors in 2019, including just five in Big 12 play. OU is on pace to record its best single-season fielding percentage and its lowest single-season error total in program history. The NCAA record is .988 (Tennessee, 2007).

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