Oklahoma Softball: Twenty-Six and Counting; Super Sooners Keep Rolling


It’s 26 and counting for the Oklahoma softball Sooners, and one more will send them down the road to their fifth Women’s College World Series appearance in the past six seasons.

The Sooners brushed aside an early first-inning lead by No. 14 Louisiana Lafayette Thursday night – something else that hasn’t happened in a very long time – and shut down the spigot from there in rolling to an 8-2 win, their 26th consecutive victory and a 1-0 advantage in their NCAA Super Regional best two-of-three series.

Oklahoma still trails the Ragin’ Cajuns in the all-time series (12-15), but the Sooners have won four of five games between the two schools in postseason play and are a perfect 4-0 when they have been matched against each other in Norman.

The same two teams will square off Friday night in one and possibly two games. If the Sooners win in the first game of the evening, the series will be over and Oklahoma will advance to the WCWS, carrying with it a 27-game winning streak. Should OU lose that game, however, a second game will be contested with the winner punching its ticket to WCWS beginning next week at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

A solo home run by Haley Hayden of Louisiana-Lafayette, leading off in the first inning, quickly put the Ragin’ Cajuns up 1-0. Seemingly unfazed by falling behind in the opening inning, the Sooners came out like they have all season with a scoring burst in the first two innings that quickly set the tone for the game.

Oklahoma scored three times in bottom half of the first and two more times in the second to open up a 5-1 advantage, which is all that OU pitcher Paige Parker needed to put the game into the win column. Parker allowed just six hits and two runs in winning her 32nd game of the season. She is only the eighth pitcher this season to hold the power-hitting Louisiana-Lafayette lineup to two or fewer runs.

It had been 27 consecutive games since Oklahoma had allowed an opponent to score in the first or second inning.

While the Sooners’ consecutive-game win streak remains alive, one for Louisiana-Lafayette came to an end with the Oklahoma win on Thursday night. The Ragin’ Cajuns were 39-0 coming into to game when they scored first.

Asked after the game about the Sooners’ response after falling behind before they had even come to bat, head coach Patty Gasso said: “Out attitude is that they are going to throw punches, and that we’ve just got to keep throwing punches back.

“It’s like a heavyweight fighter and we’re kind of the one that jabs and moves and jabs and moves, and they just want to catch us and knock us out with their heavy punches.”

“Our attitude is just that they are going to throw punches and we’ve just got to keep throwing punches back.” –OU head coach Patty Gasso

Let’s be real here for a moment. This series is over. The Sooners’ opening win all but secured that. Louisiana-Lafayette is not going to win two consecutive games against this Oklahoma softball team, not this season and not with the Sooners playing at home as the Super Regional host team.

The odds of anything but an OU series win, in my view, are astronomical.

We’re talking about a team that has not lost a game in almost two months and only once in the last 34 games. Add to that the idea that OU has won nine of the last 10 Super Regional games contested on its home turf at Marita Hynes Field.

So, no worries about Friday night. It is on to the WCWS for Gasso’s troops, where they will be the three seed, the highest they’ve been since winning it all as the No. 1 seed in 2013.

The Sooners were absent from the WCWS last season, breaking a string of four consecutive years in which they were one of the final eight teams standing after the NCAA Super Regional round. OU was a nine seed in 2011, a four seed in 2012 and a seven seed in its last Women’s College World Series appearance, in 2014.

Of special note: An appearance in the Women’s College World Series will make it six Oklahoma sports teams (football, basketball, men’s and women’s gymnastics and men’s tennis) to make it to the final stages of the NCAA Championships in 2015-16. Now that is really saying something!!