Oklahoma softball: 2022 Sooners knocking on door of multiple NCAA records

Oklahoma's Jana Johns (20) scores a run in the third inning of a Bedlam softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field in Norman, Okla., Thursday, May 5, 2022. Oklahoma won 7-1.Bedlam Softball
Oklahoma's Jana Johns (20) scores a run in the third inning of a Bedlam softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field in Norman, Okla., Thursday, May 5, 2022. Oklahoma won 7-1.Bedlam Softball /

This is an historic Oklahoma softball season, and with the postseason looming, even more milestones could lie ahead over the four to five weeks that remain.

The Sooners head into Big 12 Championship week as the nation’s top-ranked team with a near-perfect 48-1 record. Over the past two seasons, head coach Patty Gasso’s squad has won 108 games and lost just five times, an exceptional .956 winning percentage.

Oklahoma’s lone loss this season came at the hands and bats of the then 16th-ranked Texas Longhorns on April 16. Texas ace starter Hailey Dolcini held the potent Sooner offense to just two hits and two runs in pitching the Longhorns to a 4-2 complete-game victory. Both of the OU runs came in the Sooners’ final at bat on a two-run homer by junior catcher Kinzie Hansen.

Other than that, Oklahoma would be sporting a perfect 49-0 record. Thirty-five of the Sooners’ 47 wins this season have been decided by run rule, which is when a team is ahead by at least eight runs after five complete innings. Twenty-eight of OU’s wins have been by shutout. That’s complete domination both at the plate and in the pitching circle.

Contrary to how it might seem, however, not all of Oklahoma’s games have been blowouts. The Sooners have played nine games this season decided by three or fewer runs. OU has prevailed in eight of them, demonstrating its ability and resilience to win close games

Defensively in the field, the Sooners’ haven’t been quite as flawless as in recent seasons, but as a team OU’s fielding percentage (.974) still rates as the 21st best in Division I softball.

Best team in NCAA softball history?

There are several factors that go into determining the best team in NCAA Division I softball history. Perhaps the most meaningful measure is winning percentage. As we stand now, Oklahoma owns a win percentage of .956. That would be second best all-time, with the 1992 UCLA team (54-2, .964) leading the field.

The Sooners already rank among the top six teams all-time based on winning percentage. In 2013, OU finished 57-4 (.934), which ranks No. 5 all-time, and last season’s national champions were 56-4 (.933), the sixth best record in Division I softball history.

So, let’s play around with some “what ifs.” If Oklahoma were able to run the table, beginning with the Big 12 Championship this weekend and running through the NCAA Regional competition and the Women’s College World Series, the Sooners could add 10 more wins to their total.

Of course, that is a huge “if,” given the increased level of competition in postseason play, but if OU could successfully run that gauntlet without suffering a loss, this year’s team would finish with a record of 58-1. The resulting .983 winning percentage would eclipse 1992 UCLA by 21 percentage points and take over the top spot of all-time. What it really boils down to is OU cannot lose more than two games total to eclipse UCLA’s claim as the best of all-time.

Anything better than a .955 win percentage would give the Sooners claim to the second best of all-time.

However this season ends, the 2022 Oklahoma squad will have a legitimate claim to one of the best teams in collegiate softball history.

When you’re good, you’re good…

Winning percentage isn’t the only record the Sooners are zeroing in on, though. Led by career home-run leader Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma set an NCAA record with 161 home runs in 60 games a year ago. With a collective 123 home runs in 49 games this season, the 2021 record appears safe, but the team’s average of 2.51 round-trippers per game is not that far off from the record of 2.68 set last season. At the very least, this could be the second-best home run-hitting team in history.

For the second straight season, the Sooners lead the nation in slugging percentage. As things stand today, OU’s .743 slug percentage would rank second best all-time. Oklahoma set the record in that category in the 2021 season with a slugging percentage of .778 and 1,279 total bases.

The Sooners averaged 10.63 runs per game last season, a new NCAA record. This year’s team has been equally prolific offensively, although down slightly at 9.29 per game. Both figures rank No. 1 and No. 2 in NCAA history.

Pitching is another area where this year’s Sooner team is flirting with history. In this case, it’s school history, though, and not the best of all-time nationally. As outstanding as OU’s 0.75 staff earned-run average is through 49 games, incredibly it falls far short of the best mark ever recorded. It is on pace, however, to set a new Oklahoma softball record.

Although Division I softball records are not immediately available for team single-season shutouts or run-rule victories, you have to believe that the Sooners’ 35 of 49 wins by run-rule and 28 by shutout are among the best ever. And the 2022 season is not over.

Jocelyn Alo became the all-time leader in career home runs this season

Super senior Jocelyn Alo has been smacking balls out of the park for five seasons at Oklahoma. She finished last season with 34 home runs, a new Sooner single-season record, and 88 for her career. That was just eight shy of the all-time NCAA record, set by another former Oklahoma player, Lauren Chamberlain, in 2015.

Alo broke that record in mid-March this season in a game in her home state of Hawaii. She has 24 dingers through 48 games this season, second best in Division I softball. The new record now stands at 112 and counting.