Oklahoma softball: OU opens Big 12 season as nation’s most offensive team

Mar 7, 2020; Winter Haven, FL, USA; During THE Spring Games at DiamondPlex Softball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2020; Winter Haven, FL, USA; During THE Spring Games at DiamondPlex Softball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

To say the Oklahoma softball team is rolling into the Big 12 season is a major understatement.

In fact, the top-ranked and undefeated Sooners are roaring into the Big 12 portion of their schedule. They are a perfect 22-0 — 25-0 if you count their series sweep over Team Mexico this past weekend — and aren’t just beating their opponents, they’re beating them to a pulp.

The Sooners open Big 12 play this week with a three-game road series at Iowa State. The Lady Cyclones are playing pretty good ball themselves this season. They also have 22 wins, along with five losses. This will be Iowa State’s home opener after playing 27 games away from home to start the season.

Oklahoma has been on an offensive terror since opening day and leads the nation in multiple offensive categories, including team batting average (.470), hits (292), runs (267), home runs (77) on-base percentage (.538) and slugging percentage (.926).

The Sooners are averaging 12.1 runs per game, second best in NCAA Division I, and its not just the run-scoring ability that makes OU so tough this year, the pitching has been outstanding, as well.

The eight-time defending Big 12 champions have been highly efficient at the plate, averaging 12 runs and13 hits a game through 22 games. Not many of their 22 wins have been close, because while the offense has been pounding the ball all over the field, as well as over the fence, the Sooner pitchers are allowing just 23 earned runs, an average of 1.30 per game.

Senior right-hander Shannon Saile leads the OU pitching staff. She has yet to yield an earned run and has struck out 41 hitters in 25.1 innings. Giselle Juarez, Nicole May and Saille have combined for 21 of Oklahoma’s 22 wins.

Of Oklahoma’s 22 wins, 13 have been shutouts and 16 have ended short of a regulation seven-inning game because the Sooners were ahead by eight or more runs after five innings.

Senior Jocelyn Alo has been virtually a one-person wrecking crew when it comes to producing runs and hitting the ball out of the yard. The four-year starter from Hawaii leads the country in home runs (19), runs batted in (95) and total bases and ranks second nationally with a 1.484 slugging percentage.

And Alo is not alone among the OU position players in putting heavy lumber on the ball. Freshman Tiare Jennings, sophomore Kinzie Hansen and junior Grace Lyons rank third, fourth and 12th nationally in slugging percentage.

The Sooners played a three-game exhibition season against the Mexican National Team last weekend, sweeping all three games by a combined score of 25-4. OU collected 43 hits in the three games, while the Sooner pitchers allowed just four runs on 13 total hits to Team Mexico. Junior infielder Grace Lyons hit a pair of home runs in the series.