Oklahoma Sooners

Norman Softball Regional Preview | How To Watch & Things You’ll Want To Know

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

Photo credit Ty Russell/OU Athletics

Oklahoma’s quest for the Women’s College World Series gets underway today as the Sooners host Wichita State, Texas A&M, and Morgan State at the Norman Regional. Winning the weekend puts OU one step closer to Oklahoma City as a Super Regional host next weekend. Here’s what you’re going to want to know.

The Format & How To Watch

Wichita State faces Texas A&M at 5p.m. Friday on ESPN2. Next the Sooners play Morgan State at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening on ESPN3.

Friday’s winners will play in the first of three games Saturday (3 p.m.), while the losing teams will face off in an elimination game for game two of Saturday’s tripleheader (5:30 p.m.). The loser of Saturday’s first game (the winner’s game) will take on the winner of the day’s second game (the loser’s game) in an elimination match later Saturday night (8 p.m.).

The winner of Saturday’s final game will take on the winner of the day’s first game on Sunday (3 p.m.) with an if necessary rematch scheduled for later on Sunday (5:30 p.m.). Whoever wins the first game on Saturday will have to lose twice on Sunday in order to be eliminated.

Sooners In The NCAA Tournament

  • Oklahoma has made the NCAA Tournament 27 straight seasons overall and every year of head coach Patty Gasso’s tenure since 1995 (tournament was not played in 2020). Only Arizona has a longer streak (33 straight), while the Sooners are tied with Washington for second-longest run.
  • OU has been a national seed for each of the past 14 seasons. This is the third time in program history that the Sooners have been the top-seeded team, also earning the No. 1 spot in 2013 and 2019.
  • With four national titles (2000, ‘13, ‘16, ‘17) Oklahoma trails only UCLA (12) and Arizona (8) for most in NCAA history, and no other team has more than two.
  • This will be OU’s 10th straight year hosting a regional. Overall, Oklahoma is 74-20 (.787) in NCAA Regional play with 18 Regional championships in 26 appearances. In 2019, OU won the NCAA Norman Regional championship over Wisconsin after the Badgers ended OU’s program-best 41-game win streak and 49-game home win streak.
  • The Sooners are looking to make their 11th straight appearance in the Super Regionals and 14th overall since the format was introduced in 2005. All-time, OU has competed in 13 Women’s College World Series and earned four national championships.

The Field

Wichita State (39-11-1, 18-5-1 AAC)

Drawing the No. 2 seed in the Norman Regional, Wichita State comes in as the American Athletic Conference’s automatic qualifier after winning its conference tournament over UCF last weekend. The Shockers swept the AAC conference titles, also winning the regular season crown with a 18-5-1 record in conference play.

WSU is led by head coach Kristi Bredbenner in her 10th season in Wichita. She holds a 284-232-1 record at Wichita State.

The Shockers rank second in the country in home runs with 94 (the Sooners are #1 with 130.)

Two WSU batters have knocked 18-plus home runs on the year with Addison Barnard leading the way with 21, good for fifth in the nation. Madison Perrigan is second on the squad with 18 dingers.

Bailey Lange paces the Shockers in the pitcher’s circle with a 2.55 ERA and a 21-6 record. She has 128 strikeouts on the season to 55 walks.

The Sooners and Shockers met just a few weeks ago in Wichita with Oklahoma owning a 14-3 run-rule victory, in five innings. Grace Green hit OU’s seventh grand slam of the season to put the game in run-rule territory. OU holds a 51-7 all-time record against Wichita State.

The Sooners and Shockers have met twice in NCAA Regional play with Oklahoma taking both games. OU won a 2-0 win in the 2005 Norman Regional and a 7-2 win in the 2016 Norman Regional.

Texas A&M (31-21, 8-16 SEC)

Texas A&M draws the three-seed in the Normal Regional in Jo Evans’ 25th season as the head coach in College Station.

The Aggies are led by Haley Lee who ranks fourth in the country in home runs with 22 on the season. She also leads the Aggies in batting average (.413), RBIs (43) and walks (34).

Two-way player Makinzy Herzog leads the Aggies in hits with 61 on the year. From the pitching circle, Herzog paces the team with a 12-6 record. She has recorded 118 strike outs and walked 74 batters on the season while earning a 2.56 ERA.

The Sooners and Aggies last met at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in 2020, with OU winning 2-1 in walk-off fashion on an RBI double from Grace Lyons. OU holds the all-time record over A&M, 50-30, with a 24-8 record in games played in Norman.

OU has met Texas A&M more times in program history than any other opponent in NCAA Regional play. The Sooners are undefeated against the Aggies in regional history, holding a 6-0 mark with the teams last meeting in 2015. The Sooners beat A&M twice in the Norman Regional, 7-5 and 2-0 to advance to Super Regionals.

Morgan State (24-15, 14-5 MEAC)

Morgan State is the automatic qualifiers as winners of the MEAC. The Bears went 24-15 on the year with a 14-5 mark in conference play. Morgan State is making its first ever NCAA Softball Championship appearance.

The Bears are led at the plate by Ellen Ebbers, Aliya Ewell and Haylee Bobos. Ebbers leads the team with 11 doubles, and a .348 batting average, while Bobos has hit a team-best four home runs to go with 21 RBIs. Ewell has knocked in 20 runs on the season to go with a team-best 56 total bases, 35 hits and 29 runs scored.

In the pitching circle, Stephanie Rundlett leads the way with a 12-7 record and 83 strikeouts to 31 walks in 2021. She holds a 3.12 ERA and opponent are batting .266 against her.

Friday’s matchup between OU and Morgan State will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.

Setting The Record Straight

  • The Sooners broke the program record for home runs in a season at Oklahoma State, hitting No. 116 in Stillwater and have since brought their season total to 130, blasting past the 2019 team’s previous record of 115. The 2021 squad hit the program mark in 23 less games than the 2019 team.
  • The 2021 Oklahoma Softball team has set the program record for most run-rule victories in a season with 32, surpassing the 2019 and 2013 teams’ 25.
  • The 2021 team currently holds the single-season program record for runs scored (526) batting average (.419), on-base percentage (.505) and slugging (.799).
  • Senior Jocelyn Alo (81 career HRs) is 14 homers shy of the program and NCAA record 95 that 2015 star Lauren Chamberlain hit throughout her career.
  • Alo (27 HRs) and freshman Tiare Jennings (24) are quickly approaching the single-season program record for home runs (30) set in 2018 by Alo herself and 2012 and 2013 by Lauren Chamberlain.
  • Jennings is six home runs short of tying and seven away from breaking the NCAA freshman single-season home run record of 30, hit in 2012 by Chamberlain and 2018 by Alo.
  • Oklahoma set an NCAA single-game home run record with 13 in the season opener versus UTEP, a 29-0 (5 inn.) run-rule victory. The team tied the NCAA record for homers in an inning with five in the first and fifth innings of the game.
  • Jennings and junior Grace Lyons tied the school record for home runs in a game with three a piece against the Miners in the season opener.
  • The fourth inning of OU’s game three vs. Texas Tech (4/25) marked the most runs scored in an inning in program history and tied for the second most in NCAA history.
  • Oklahoma registered a program-best 28 hits in its 33-4 victory over New Mexico on Feb. 27 in Phoenix.
  • The Sooners hold the top two single-game run totals of 2021 with 33 in its victory over New Mexico Feb. 27 and 29 in its season opener over UTEP

Inside The Numbers

Oklahoma’s offense leads the country in every major offensive category:
• Home runs: 130 (36 better than 2nd-place Wichita State’s 94)
• Home runs per game: 2.77 avg.
• Batting average: .419
• On base percentage: .505
• Slugging percentage: .799
• Runs: 526 (11.19 per game avg.)

OU is outscoring opponents 526-80 on the season, scoring an average of 11.19 runs per game to opponents 1.70 clip.

Oklahoma has won by run rule in 32 of its 47 games.

OU has scored 10-plus runs in one inning six times this season.

A total of 13 Sooners have hit a home run this season, with 11 players blasting at least two.

The Sooners hold three of the top 10 individual batting averages in the country out of players with at least 100 at bats:
• 2nd – Jocelyn Alo – .479
• 5th – Jayda Coleman – .477
• 6th – Tiare Jennings – .474

Three of the top 10 home run hitters in the country play for the Sooners, including the nation’s leader.
• 1st – Alo: 27
• T2nd – Jennings: 24
• T8th – Kinzie Hansen: 20

The Sooners have hit at least one home run in 44 of its 47 games this season and have hit at least two in 37 of the 47 contests.

Oklahoma has hit two-plus home runs in one inning 28 times this season, including three or more seven times and four-plus in one inning four times.

The Sooners have hit back-to-back home runs 13 times in 2021 and back-to-back-to-back blasts three times.

The Oklahoma defense shares a tie for first in the country out of teams that have played at least five games with a .986 fielding percentage and has committed just 15 errors on the season.

OU’s pitching staff leads the country with 21 shutouts. The staff ranks 10th with a 1.73 ERA.

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