NORMAN – The reigning national champion Oklahoma softball team unveiled its eight-game fall schedule Tuesday. Six of the eight games will take place at Marita Hynes Field, highlighted by a game against the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch League on Oct. 21.
The fall schedule starts the weekend of Sept. 30 with the annual Fall Festival Tournament. Oklahoma opens play on Friday, Sept. 30, against Temple College at 7 p.m. OU then plays twice Saturday with games at 3:45 p.m. against Seminole State and 6 p.m. against Northern.
After a 10-day break, the Sooners take the field on Tuesday, Oct. 11 against North Central Texas College at 6 p.m.
The following Monday, OU hosts North Texas at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17. The teams met in the regular season last year as Oklahoma used a six-run fifth inning to post a 6-1 victory over the Mean Green.
The highlight of the fall schedule comes on Friday, Oct. 21 when the NPF’s USSSA Pride visits Norman at 6:30 p.m. Former Sooner greats Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley are expected back for the game after helping the Pride to a runner-up finish for the Cowles Cup during the NPF season.
Oklahoma then closes out the fall slate on Sunday, Nov. 6 when its visits Arkansas for a doubleheader. Paige Parker struck out eight and walked none while giving up a lone unearned run and Fale Aviu hit a two-run homer as OU defeated the Razorbacks a year ago, 3-1.
OU is coming off a season in which the Sooners won their third national title, becoming just the third team ever to accomplish the feat. Oklahoma is also the five-time defending Big 12 champion, a run never before seen in the conference. The Sooners finished the 2016 season with a 57-8 record as they made their 10 appearance at the Women’s College World Series.
The team loses five seniors from last year's squad in 2017, but returns Paige Parker, a first-team All-American and the WCWS’ Most Outstanding Player, and second-team All-American Shay Knighten.
In addition to Parker and Knighten, returning all-region honorees include juniors Kelsey Arnold and Lea Wodach and sophomores Fale Aviu, Caleigh Clifton and Sydney Romero. Oklahoma also welcomes in seven newcomers, including a five-person freshman class and transfers Paige Lowary (Missouri) and Hannah Sparks (Northwest Florida State College).