Oklahoma softball makes NCAA history, on to Super Regional

Oklahoma's Nicole May (19) gestures after a pitch during a softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and Texas A&M in the NCAA Norman Regional at Marita Hynes Field in Norman, Okla., Sunday, May 22, 2022.Ncaa Norman Regional
Oklahoma's Nicole May (19) gestures after a pitch during a softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and Texas A&M in the NCAA Norman Regional at Marita Hynes Field in Norman, Okla., Sunday, May 22, 2022.Ncaa Norman Regional /
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Oklahoma softball has been dominant all season long, and the three-game stretch in the Norman regional was no exception.

The Sooners (52-2, 17-1 Big 12) gave up just two runs in three games, winning two by shutout and run rule. Along the way, Oklahoma broke another NCAA record, and will now serve as one of the eight Super Regional venues.

OU will host UCF next weekend at Marita Hynes Field. It is looking more and more unlikely any team can beat this group of talented Sooners in a best-of-three series, and some upsets around the country only further feed that notion.

Oklahoma opened up regional play on Friday night at Marita Hynes field against Prairie View A&M (20-28), who made it to the postseason by winning the SWAC tournament. The Sooners handled their business against the lesser opponent, winning 14-0 in a five-inning run-rule decision.

Four different Sooners hit home runs in the Prairie View win; Joceyln Alo, Tiare Jennings, Grace Lyons and true freshman Turiya Coleman. The coalition of Nicole May and Hope Trautwein held the Panthers hitless, the seventh no-hitter of the season for Oklahoma. The pair combined for nine strikeouts. Oklahoma’s victory marked a new NCAA record for run-rule victories in a single season with 36. The Sooners collected their 14 runs on 11 hits.

On Saturday, the No. 1-seeded Sooners took on Texas A&M in the winners’ bracket of the Norman Regional. Oklahoma raced out to a quick 2-0 lead on a Jayda Coleman home run and a Grace Lyons RBI double. OU added on a third run on a Coleman RBI double in the fourth frame.

Oklahoma did not play its best game in the Saturday contest against the Aggies. The game tightened up considerably when OU starter Hope Trautwein gave up a two-run home run blast in the 6th inning, only the second this season she has allowed a home run. This allowed  A&M to come within one run of the defending national champs.

Before that, however, Oklahoma had a sloppy day on the base paths. Jennings was thrown out going home in the first inning, which put a huge damper on an early rally. Jayda Coleman was also caught trying to get to third base in the fourth inning. Needless to say, the Sooners did not put their best foot forward but, importantly, Oklahoma came away with the 3-2 victory on the back of solid defense and Trautwein’s pitching.

Sunday afternoon, in the regional championship round, Oklahoma needed just one win to get to advance to the Super Regionals and the round of 16. and its opponent was once again Texas A&M, which eliminated Minnesota Saturday evening.

A&M needed to take two games from the 2-0 Sooners to move on in the NCAA Championship. Oklahoma, who had played a poor game despite defeating the Aggies the day before, took away any doubt of who the better team was with a nine-run explosion in its very first at bat on Sunday.

Oklahoma went on to win the game 20-0, in the softball rendition of a 77-0 rout the OU football team put on Texas A&M in the early 2000s.. The 20-0 margin is the largest margin of victory in NCAA softball postseason history.

The Sooners also extended the run-rule record to 37 contests.  In the 20-run blowout, three OU players homered (Jocelyn Alo, Alyssa Britto and Tiare Jennings). Nicole May, who was part of the no-hitter by the Sooners on Friday, was again in rhythm, striking out three of the first four Aggies she faced and surrendering just 2 hits and striking out six hitters in 4 1/3 innings of work. Macy McAdoo  finished out the game in the circle, and put the final explanation point with a regional championship-sealing strike out!

The story of the weekend, however, was the absence of OU superstar freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl, who has been sidelined the last two weekends due to an injury believed to be soreness in her throwing arm.

There has been no timetable set for her Bahl’s return, though Patty Gasso said she believed she would be available this postseason. Bahl did dress for any of the three games but was present in the dugout with the team.

The bigger lesson to be learned is that the now 52-2 history-making Sooners are more than fine sending out Nicole May and Hope Trautwein in the circle. Both answered the call over the weekend.

The Sooners will take on UCF in the Norman Super Regional next weekend. It will be interesting to see if Bahl will be available. If not, the Sooners are very confident in the women they have in the circle, either way.