Oklahoma softball: Sooners begin another NCAA championship journey Friday

The OU softball team improved to 45-1 this season with a 9-1 win at Kansas on Sunday.Ou Tulsa Softballl
The OU softball team improved to 45-1 this season with a 9-1 win at Kansas on Sunday.Ou Tulsa Softballl /

The second and more meaningful season of 2022 collegiate softball begins this weekend, and for top-seeded Oklahoma softball that means a chance to run it back for a second consecutive national crown.

The Sooners not only are the No. 1-ranked team in the country, and have been for the past two seasons, they are the No. 1 overall seed and heavy favorite to stay that way in the 2022 NCAA Softball Championship.

Oklahoma has been to the postseason every season in head coach Patty Gasso’s 25 years at OU and has taken the Sooners to the Women’s College World Series 14 times, including each of the last five years the WCWS has been played. OU has five national championships under Gasso and is looking for number six.

This is the 15th consecutive season the Sooners have been a national seed and the fourth time they have been awarded the top overall seed (2013, 2019, 2021 and 2022).

The journey to Oklahoma City and the 2022 WCWS begins 20 miles to the south in Norman, where the Sooners (49-2) will host Prairie View A&M (20-27), Texas A&M (29-26) and Minnesota (26-24) in one of 16 NCAA regional locations this weekend.

Texas A&M, which finished next to last in the SEC this season with a 6-18 record, will face Minnesota, which placed in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten with an 11-12 record, in the opening game of the double-elimination Norman Regional. Oklahoma will host the Prairie View Panthers, the third-place team (16-8) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the second game.

The winners of the two Friday games will face each other in the first of three games on Saturday. The losing teams on Friday will play each other in an elimination game in game two on Saturday. The final game of the day will pair the loser of the first game on Saturday against the winner of the second game.

Sunday’s championship round will pit the winner of Saturday’s first game against the winner of the game three on Saturday. If a second contest is necessary to determine a regional champion, that contest will be played later on Sunday.

The Norman Regional winner will host the winner of the Orlando Regional, which is being hosted by 16-seed UCF. The Super Regional round will take place May 26-29.

OU has been a Super Regional site the last three seasons. The Sooners are 6-0 the last three times OU has hosted a Super Regional. Since 2012, Oklahoma is 17-3 in Super Regional competition.

What fans should know about the Norman Regional in NCAA Softball

  • Oklahoma’s 2021 season ended with a 56-4 record and the program’s fourth national championship. The Sooners are 49-2 entering the postseason this season.
  • This is the 11th straight season Oklahoma has hosted a regional tournament. The Sooners are 31-3 in regional games during that time, including 11 consecutive regional championships.
  • OU is 40-30 all-time against Texas A&M (from 1996 to 2010, Texas A&M was a member of the Big 12) and 3-8 all-time against Minnesota. When the Sooners and Prairie View A&M play each other on Friday night, it will be the first meeting between the two schools in softball.
  • Oklahoma leads all of NCAA Division I softball in six major offensive categories (batting average, home runs, home runs per game, scoring, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Sooners also lead the nation in staff ERA and with 28 shutouts in 51 games.
  • NCAA career home run leader Jocelyn Alo leads the nation in both on-base percentage (.622) and slugging percentage (1.128), ranks second nationally in batting average (.481), and third in home runs (25).
  • Alo is also one of three finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. She won that same award last season and is vying to be the second player in OU program history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
  • Only two other teams have won as many national championships as the Sooners. UCLA leads all schools with 12; Arizona has 8.


Oklahoma should not lose a game this weekend and advance easily to the 16-team Super Regionals, which will also be held in Norman next weekend.