June 09, 2022
OKLAHOMA CITY – A ridiculously remarkable, record-setting season ended Thursday night for the Oklahoma softball team with the Sooners clutching the program’s sixth NCAA championship trophy.
Such an achievement came as no surprise given OU spent every week atop the national rankings while leading Division I teams in a gaggle of categories both at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle.
The title clincher came with a 10-5 victory over Red River rival and fellow Big 12 rep Texas before an appreciative crowd of 12,257 at USA Softball Stadium. The Sooners have now won four of the last six championships staged (COVID canceled the 2020 tournament) and their six crowns trail only UCLA (12) and Arizona (8) all-time.
OU finished 59-3 (.952) overall.
As that record suggests, the Sooners disposed of opponents in an authoritative manner that included 41 run-rule victories, 33 shutouts, eight no-hitters, holding opponents to one run or fewer 49 times, hitting home runs in 56 of 62 games, plus numerous other mind-boggling superlatives.
These type things tend to happen when your team has five first-team All-Americans, a group led by super senior Jocelyn Alo, the sport’s new career home run queen (122) who also became the first player in history to hit 30 home runs and bat .500 in the same season, finishing with a .512 average.
Fellow All-Americans Jayda Coleman (.419), Tiare Jennings (.400) and Grace Lyons (.400) all hit .400 or better while true freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl finished with a 22-1 record and a 1.16 ERA with 207 strikeouts in 145 1/3 innings.
All things considered, a strong argument can be made this might be the greatest collegiate softball team ever assembled.
The Longhorns opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Alyssa Washington that rightfielder Rylie Boone caught on the warning track while looking directly into the sun.
Coleman followed by catching back-to-back deep fly balls in centerfield to disarm UT’s potentially explosive first inning.
Coleman’s first catch was against the outfield wall off the bat of Mary Iakopo with runners at second and third. Almost on cue, Coleman then reached over the wall for the final out of the inning, robbing Courtney Day of what would have been a 2-run homer.
It was around this time OU’s bats awoke after going scoreless the first three innings. The Sooners tied the score at 2 in the fourth, took a 6-2 lead in the fifth sparked by Hansen’s 3-run homer to left field, then increased their lead to 10-2 buoyed by a 3-run blast from Lyons in the sixth.
In the seventh inning, Gasso began implementing an array of curtain calls for her seniors, which included inserting super senior righthander Hope Trautwein. Presumably battling emotions, the transfer from North Texas struggled badly with control, walking two and surrendering a 3-run homer to Scott before finally registering the final out.
The first four hitters in the OU lineup are all first-team All-Americans, but on this night Coleman, Alo, Jennings and Lyons combined for a rather modest 4 for 13 (.308).
COURTESY OKLAHOMA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS