Oklahoma softball: Sooners one win away from Norman Regional final


The No. 2-ranked Oklahoma softball team made easy work of Cleveland State in the Sooners' opening game of the NCAA Norman Regional on Friday, but now the task becomes much tougher with OU taking on the regional's second best team in the Oregon Ducks.

If the Sooners can get past Oregon, coached by former OU player and coaching assistant Melyssa Lombardi, they will be guaranteed a spot in the regional final on Sunday.

Oklahoma senior Nicole May shut out the Horizon champions, the Terriers of Boston U, on just three hits over five innings and struck out nine in a 9-0 OU run-rule victory. Freshman Kasidi Pickering was three-for-three at the plate, including a pair of home runs, and Tiare Jennings hit a two-run blast, giving her 20 home runs and 59 runs batted in for the season.

Jennings now has 304 RBI in her career, moving her up to fifth on the all-time NCAA list, tied with Sierra Romero, formerly of Michigan and the sister of Sydney Romero, who played at Oklahoma and is now an assistant coach at Oregon.

The win on Friday was OU's 50th of the season against six losses and their 10 consecutive NCAA regional win and 14th in their last 15 regional games.

Oregon (29-19) advanced to the second round of the Norman Regional against the Sooners by defeating Boston University 8-0 on Friday. The Ducks and Sooners have faced each other just 16 times historically with OU leading the series 10-6 and 3-0 in games played in Norman.

Despite Oregon's 30-19 overall record, the Ducks should be a tough test for the Sooners. The Ducks are a dangerous team with some firepower offensively. Oregon has wins this season over Stanford, Washington and Arizona, all ranked in the top 25 and playing in this season's NCAA Tournament.

The winner between Oklahoma and Oregon moves on to the regional championship game on Sunday, while the loser has to play a second game on Saturday against the winner between Boston U. and Cleveland State.