Oklahoma softball: Losing not an option for 32-0, No. 1-ranked Sooners

OU celebrates Grace Lyons' (middle) walk-off double in the fifth inning of an 8-0 win against Baylor on March 26 in Norman.jump
OU celebrates Grace Lyons' (middle) walk-off double in the fifth inning of an 8-0 win against Baylor on March 26 in Norman.jump /

It’s been nearly 10 months, or 298 days, since the top-ranked Oklahoma softball team last lost a game.

Another week’s slate is in the books with another near-perfect scorecard turned in by the Sooners. Oklahoma played Wichita State on Tuesday. That was followed by a rare two-game weekend series with UAB (University of Alabama-Brimingham) on Friday and Saturday,

All four games last week were played on Marita Hynes Field in Norman.  The Sooners came out unscathed, running their overall season record to 32-0, and extending their current win streak to 34 games. The Sooners trail Arizona’s record 47-game win streak by 13 games heading into this week’s action.

Wichita State is a familiar foe for Oklahoma. The Lady Shockers played the Sooners in the Norman Regional last season. Wichita State is a well-coached and quality team year in and year out. OU has also played them the Shockers n the regular season in recent seasons.

Wichita State started off the scoring in last week’s contest with an unearned run in the first inning.  That advantage didn’t last long, however, as the Sooners scored a couple of runs in their half of the opening frame.

Oklahoma went on to score the final eight runs in the game, securing a 10-1 run rule victory. Grace Lyons, who has wielded a hot bat recently, joined the Oklahoma three-home-run parade in recent games, collecting three round-trippers of her own against Wichita State.

Tiare Jennings also slugged a home run in OU’s midweek win over the Shockers. Jordy Bahl pitched all five innings, striking out 11 and only allowing 3 hits.  OU third baseman Jana Johns was absent for the game due to the death of her grandfather. It was a by-committee effort to replace her at third base with Jennings, and Alyssa Brito sharing duties at the keystone sack.

On Friday Oklahoma took on UAB, and cruised to an 11-1 win in five innings.Three Sooners hit home runs in the game: Lyons, Jayda Coleman, and Jocelyn Alo. Jordy Bahl pitched four innings before being relieved by Nicole May in the 5th. Bahl was not her usual shutdown self on this particular Friday, registering only strikeouts but was effective with the Sooners defense backing her up.

In the first inning there was a scary moment as first baseman Taylon Snow attempted to corral a throw across the diamond from third baseman Johns. Snow extended and was left vulnerable to contact from the Blazer’s base runner. She was down for several minutes, and was then helped off the field by Patty Gasso,

The news appears good though. While bruised and sore Snow did not suffer a serious injury. For precautionary reasons, however, she was held out of Saturday’s game. This led to Lynssie Elam heading to first base, and Kinzie Hansen reinserted into her regular position behind the dish after an absence of several games.

Saturday’s challenge was a much different experience for Oklahoma, which has been in a few nail-biters the last couple of weeks.

Hope Trautwein the nation’s leader in ERA, pitched a wale of a game, just like she had last week. Trautwein, a transfer from North Texas, went the full seven innings, fanning nine and allowing just two hits on the day.

The OU offense was struggling to find its bats and was held scoreless until the bottom of the sixth innings. Coleman, and Elam went back to back with fence-clearing solo blasts. Oklahoma then cleaned things up on defense by collecting the three outs it needed in the top of the seventh to close it out.

While the word dominance is hardly a strong enough term to describe the Sooners softball team this year, the Sooners have been that and more. In the few games where clutch hitting and pitching has been needed, however, Oklahoma has managed to piece together those needed plays to keep the engine rolling.