Oklahoma softball sweeps through 5 games posting 3 top-25 wins on opening weekend

The two-time defending national champion Oklahoma softball team opened the 2023 season this past weekend with a five-game sweep in the Mark Campbell Invitational in Irvine, California.

Three of the Sooners’ five wins at Bill Barber Field in Irvine to open the season were against top-25 teams. The season-opening weekend included three shutouts and two wins by run rule.

Top-ranked Oklahoma defeated No. 16 Duke 4-0 to open the season on Thursday. That same afternoon, the Sooners faced unranked Liberty and escaped with a 1-0 extra-inning win in eight innings.

The Sooners defeated No. 17 Stanford 10-1 in six innings on Friday and then won a one-run, 5-4 battle over 14th-ranked Washington on Saturday. OU closed out opening weekend with a 9-0 run-rule victory in five innings over San Jose State on Sunday.

Oklahoma’s weekend of work included a 29-5 score margin as the Sooners set out in quest of a third straight national championship and seventh national championship, including four in the last seven seasons.

The Sooners, who led all of NCAA Division I softball last season with a team batting average of .374 and runs scored per game (9.4), outhit their five weekend opponents 38-18.

The big guns offensively for OU in the season-opening weekend were junior All-American Tiare Jennings with seven hits in eight at-bats and three RBI and four runs. Newcomer Haley Lee, a transfer from Texas A&M, went 6 for 13 at the plate with five RBI and five runs scored, including OU’s first home run of the season, which didn’t come until the third game of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning against Stanford Veteran All-American shortstop Grace Lyons was 6 for 13 with three RBI and three runs.

Sophomore right-hander Jordy Bahl picked up a pair of wins over the weekend, earning the win against Duke in the season opener and against Stanford. Nicole May posted the 1-0 win over Liberty, going all eight innings and allowing just four hits along with 10 strikeouts.

Michigan transfer Alex Storako and freshman Kiersten Deal, who throws from the left side, earned their first victories with OU. Storako got the win against Stanford with Deal coming on to record the last out, and Deal started and worked the first four innings in the run-rule win on Sunday over San Jose, recording her first collegiate win. She allowed one run and one hit and struck out five in the game.

Oklahoma led the nation in home runs a year ago with 155 total in 62 games and a 2.50 average per game, but the Sooners hit just three balls out of the park during the opening weekend. Besides Lee, Alyssa BrittoGrace Green and freshman Jocelyn Erickson also hit home runs.

Next action for the No. 1 Oklahoma softball team is another weekend tournament, joining four other teams in the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. The Sooners will face Longwood on Friday. A doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday with OU taking on Stephen F. Austin and Army. OU will finish the weekend with a Sunday game against host Baylor.