Oklahoma softball: Sooners headed to 8th consecutive Women's College World Series


What else is new? The three-time defending national champion Oklahoma softball team became the first team to punch its ticket to the 2024 Women's College World Series with a 4-2 win over Florida State on Friday.

The Sooners (54-6) head up Interstate 35 to Devon Park in Oklahoma City for their eighth consecutive trip to the Women's College World Series and seeking to make history.

For the second straight game, Oklahoma never trailed in eliminating Florida State from the 2024 NCAA Championship, the team the Sooners defeated in the WCWS last season to win their third consecutive national championship. OU won the opening game in the super regional series 11-3 on Thursday.

Freshman Kasidi Pickering blasted a two-run home run in the fifth inning on Friday to give OU a 4-1 lead. Pickering and freshman teammate Ella Parker combined for four of the Sooners eight hits in the series-clinching win.

Graduate transfer Karlie Keeney came in in relief of starter Kiersten Deal for Oklahoma in the third inning and got the win, her sixth of the season with one loss. Deal worked 2.2 inning before handing it over to veteran Nicole May, who closed it out pitching a perfect final two innings.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, OU center fielder Jayda Coleman made arguably the best defensive play of her career -- and certainly of this game - taking away a home run from FSU's sensational freshman Jaysoni Beachum with a leaping catch over the wall.

That might have been a game-saving play because the hitter that followed Beachum, Kalei Harding, hit a solo home run over the left field foul pole. If Coleman wasn't able to haul in Beachum's long drive, the score would have been 4-3 instead of 4-2 with no one out.

Head coach Patti Gasso praised the three Oklahoma pitchers in Friday night's win in her postgame comments after the game:

"I loved what they did, and (how they) handed the torch to each other. They had the right mindset. I'm telling you, when you hold a team like Florida State to two runs, that's winning because they are incredible swingers."

By winning the super regional championship over Florida State, Oklahoma extended its NCAA record postseason winning streak to 18 games. The Sooners are undefeated in the postseason this season (5-0).

Oklahoma has a veteran roster comprised of seven seniors along with three graduate transfers. Six seniors grace the Sooner starting lineup and four of the six are making their fourth consecutive trip to the WCWS.

This is the winningest senior class in OU softball history, and it may be the winningest senior class in the history of college softball. Oklahoma's softball record over the past four seasons is a remarkable 230-14, and the Sooners' postseason record over the same span is an even more impressive 31-3 with three national championships.

Next week in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma goes after an unprecedented fourth consecutive national championship and sixth in the last eight years the WCWS has been held. In the other two seasons, the Sooners were the national runner-up.

Oklahoma will play the winner of the Columbia Super Regional between No. 5 Missouri and No. 10 Duke in the opening round of the WCWS on Thursday.