Oklahoma Softball Closing in on Another Conference Crown


The day after April Fool’s Day this season was no joke to the Oklahoma softball team.

The Sooners lost that day, a 5-2 setback to Kansas, but it would mark the beginning of a month-long span in which they would not lose another game.

Oklahoma is 16-0 since losing the second game of that home series against the Jayhawks, and 10 of those victories have come against Big 12 opponents.

If not for the fact that the second-place Baylor Bears have won 10 games in a row, the Big 12 race this season would be over. As it is, the Lady Sooners can clinch at least a tie for the league crown with two wins over Texas Tech this weekend and can win the title outright with a series sweep, which OU has already accomplished in three of four Big 12 series this season.

The seventh-ranked Sooners (41-7, 12-1) currently hold a one game lead over Baylor in the conference standings with five games remaining against Big 12 opponents (three with Texas Tech and two with Oklahoma State).

The Lady Bears have just one league game remaining on their 2016 schedule, at Texas. The two teams met earlier this season in Waco, splitting two games.

Oklahoma’s current 16-game win streak is tied for the second longest active streak in the country this season (Fresno State is on a 19-game win streak).

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With all the attention on OU’s 16 consecutive wins, it is easy to overlook the fact that the Sooners were on a seven-game win streak when they fell to Kansas. Including the loss to the Jayhawks, OU has won 23 times in its last 24 outings. Only one other team in the nation has a better win percentage over that many games this season.

The 16-game win streak includes four wins over top-25 teams and six shutouts. The Sooners’ opponents have scored just two earned runs against OU pitchers in the last seven games.

Oklahoma heads to Tulsa for a mid-week encounter on Wednesday night. OU has 38 wins against the Golden Hurricane, the fifth most against any one opponent in Sooner softball history, and has won the last four meetings between the two in-state schools. The Sooners are 12-6 all-time in games played at Tulsa.

OU’s outstanding 40-plus-win season, the 21st consecutive season the Sooners have reached the 40-win level, all under the leadership of head coach Patty Gasso, is the cumulative result of equally outstanding individual seasons by several of the Sooner position players and starting pitchers.

Consider these numbers:

  • Freshman second baseman Caleigh Clifton has reached base in a team-high 22 consecutive games. Over that span, she has scored 23 runs, has 16 runs batted in, three doubles, a triple, three home runs and seven stolen bases. In those 22 games, Clifton is hitting .447 with an on-base percentage of .662 and a slugging percentage of .775.
  • Every spot in the OU starting lineup is hitting .315 or better. The Sooners are hitting .350 or better in every inning this season except the fourth, when the team average falls to .302.
  • The Sooners have outscored their opponents 101-15 in the first two innings this season, and the Sooner pitchers have not given up a run in the first two innings since the end of March, a span of 18 games.
  • Sophomore pitcher Paige Parker ranks seventh among all active pitchers with 200 or more inning pitched in career ERA (1.67), 16th in shutouts (18) and 41st in wins (51).

Oklahoma has won the last four conference championships in softball and nine in Gasso’s 21 season’s in the Sooner dugout. Only four times in those 21 seasons has OU finished lower than second.

This season should be no different as the Sooners prepare to reach double digits in Big 12 softball titles.