Oklahoma softball pitcher Kelly Maxwell was always a Sooner fan


Oklahoma softball pitcher Kelly Maxwell spent five accomplished seasons at in-state rival Oklahoma State but her heart has always been with the Sooners.

Maxwell announced last June that she was foregoing her final season at Oklahoma State and trading in the orange and block of the Cowgirls for the crimson and cream of Oklahoma. And her arrival couldn't have come at a better time for the Sooners' following the departure of fellow All-American Jordy Bahl, who elected to return home to Nebraska after two seasons starring at OU.

"Actually, from a young age, I was an OU fan."

Kelly Maxwell on transferring to OU

"My dad's family actually all went to school here, and this was my dream school, " Maxwell said in a recent interview on KREF Radio in Norman. "I had always admired watching OU football and Adrian Peterson (which is why, incidentally, Maxwell wears the No. 28 uniform number)."

Last season at Oklahoma State, Maxwell compiled a 16-7 record with a 1.91 ERA over 142.2 innings and helped lead the Cowgirls to the Women's College World Series. Her 229 strikeouts led the Big 12. Over her career at OSU, she was 58-20 with a sparkling 1.58 ERA. Her 746 strikeouts in four seasons ranks fourth all-time at Oklahoma State.

The Sooners have a recent history under head coach Patty Gasso and pitching coach Jennifer Rocha of bringing in talented starting pitchers at the end of their college careers through the transfer portal. In the past couple of years alone, North Texas transfer Hope Trautwein and last season Alex Storako, a transfer from Michigan, have come to Oklahoma and ended their careers on a high note and with a national championship.

Trautwein won 16 games without a loss in OU's 2022 season, the second of their three consecutive national titles. Storako was 18-0 a year ago and a major cog in Oklahoma's sensational rotation of Jordy Bahl and Nicole May.

Maxwell fits into that same mold, and her 10-0 record in 10 starts at Oklahoma this season bears out the value she brings to the Sooner starting rotation. Her 1.69 ERA and 69 strikeouts rank in the top 10 of all Big 12 pitchers this season, and she leads the conference in opponents' batting average (.161).

It's always ideal when an incoming transfer becomes a win-win for both the player and the receiving team. In the case of Maxwell, it was a marriage that was meant to be.