|Position:||Associate Head Coach|
|High School:||Greenway HS|
Having completed her 20th season as a full-time coach, Melyssa Lombardi continues to guide the Sooner pitchers and catchers to even greater accomplishments. Lombardi was promoted to her current position of associate head coach in July 2007.
Drawing from her playing days as a catcher for the Sooners from 1995-96, Lombardi has lent her valuable experiences in tutoring the Oklahoma catchers and pitchers. During her tenure, the Sooners have won the 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017 National Championships and have won 16 NCAA Regional Championships in 20 postseason appearances. In addition the Sooners have claimed nine Big 12 regular season titles (1999, 2000, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and four conference tournament championships (2001, 2007, 2010 and 2017).
As a member of the Sooners' coaching staff, Lombardi has been a part of four NFCA National Coaching Staffs of the Year (2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017), and 10 Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). In 2017, she was named the NFCA's Division I Assistant Coach of the Year.
A former all-conference catcher for the Sooners, Lombardi has also coached the Oklahoma battery to a combined 19 All-America honors, 36 All-Region accolades and 75 All-Big 12 honors during her time in Norman.
The 2017 season featured one of the deepest staffs in program history as three pitchers threw at least 100 innings and all five members of the staff had ERAs at 2.08 or lower. The staff ERA was 1.55 on the season with 510 strikeouts in 482.2 innings and an opponents' average of .177.
Paige Parker continued her career with another All-American season and her third straight season being named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year after posting the lowest ERA (1.43) and best strikeout rate (8.72 per 7 IP) of her career. Junior Paige Lowary transferred from Missouri and was named an All-Big 12 First Team honoree as she emerged as a dominant relief pitcher. With 11 saves on the year, Lowary had more than any team previously recorded in OU history and she tied for fifth in NCAA single-season records. Freshman Mariah Lopez went 18-1 on the season with 109 strikeouts in 101 innings and threw a no-hitter. Fellow freshmen Nicole Mendes and Melanie Olmos rounded out the staff by giving up just two runs in 24.2 combined innings.
Sophomore Paige Parker built on a tremendous debut season and established herself as one of the best pitchers in the country during her sophomore campaign. She was named the Women's College World Series' Most Outstanding Player, an NFCA First-Team All-American, a first-team All-Region honoree, Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team selection.
Parked tied a school record and led the country with 38 wins while posting a 1.64 ERA and notching 269 strikeouts in 252.1 innings pitched. She made 36 starts in 47 appearances and recorded 32 complete games with 14 shutouts. Parker was a perfect 10-0 in 10 starts in the postseason, posting a 2.13 ERA in the process with two shutouts.
As a staff, which included senior Keley Stevens and freshmen Jayden Chestnut and Brittany Finney, OU recorded the sixth best strikeout rate in OU history at 7.09, threw 22 shutouts to tie for seventh in Oklahoma single-season history and posted the eighth highest strikeout total (433) in school history.
Behind the plate, sophomore Lea Wodach earned second-team All-Region honors as she hit .315 with seven home runs and 32 runs batted in. Taking over primary catching duties in mid-March, she threw out 11 of the 16 stolen base attempts against her.
Freshman Paige Parker was the highlight of the 2015 season for Sooners' pitchers and catchers. A second-team All-American and NFCA Freshman of the Year, Parker was also named the Big 12 Pitcher and Big 12 Freshman of the Year and earned first-team all-conference and all-region honors.
In 42 appearances in the circle, including 31 starts, Parker went 28-7 with a 1.65 earned run average. She struck out 224 batters and walked only 57 in 217.0 innings of work while holding batters to a .170 batting average. Parker had nine solo shutouts this year, combined on six others and also made three saves in relief.
Parker threw four perfect games in 2015 to become the third pitcher in NCAA Division I history to throw four perfect games in a season. In addition, Parker also became the 16th player in Division I history to have at least four perfect games in a career.
Behind the plate, catchers Whitney Ellis and Lea Wodach limited baserunners to just four stolen bases, the fewest in the nation. In addition, they threw out 8 of 12 would-be basestealers for a nation's base caught stealing rate of 75 percent.
The 2014 season was one of Lombardi's best coaching jobs as the team's returning pitchers combined for three wins, one start, 13.2 innings and 13 strikeouts in 2013. Nevertheless, Stanford transfer Kelsey Stevens joined the squad and proceeded to tie for the nation's lead in wins with 38 to earn All-Region and All-Conference honors. In addition, sophomore catcher Whitney Ellis, who had to replace three-time All-American Jessica Shults, threw out a nation's best 61.5 percent (16 of 26) of would-be basestealers. For her efforts, Ellis also garnered regional and conference accolades.
Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne combined to give the Sooners one of their most dominant seasons ever in 2013. Ricketts went 35-1 and Gascoigne was 18-3, while each had an ERA under 1.23 and held opponents' batting averages under .160. Ricketts threw 16 shutouts, Gascoigne threw eight and the pair combined on three more.
As a team, the Sooners led the country in earned run average at 1.16, the lowest by a staff since Florida's 0.69 mark in 2009. It was also the second year in a row that OU boasted the country's top ERA, the first time a program led in back-to-back years since 2005-06.
Ricketts was named the USA Softball Player of the Year for the second year in a row, the third player in history to win multiple honors. She ranked second in the nation in shutouts (16), third in wins (35) and fifth in hits allowed per seven innings (3.61). She threw a school record six no-hitters during the season, including in each of her first two starts, and her record of 35-1 went down as tied for the fourth-best winning percentage in a single-season in NCAA history.
A four-time All-American, Ricketts finished her career ranking ninth in NCAA history in appearances (192) and wins (133), 10th in games started as a pitcher (163), 11th in strikeouts (1605) and 13th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.46).
Gascoigne was named second-team All-Region and second-team All-Big 12 as she led the nation with a 0.88 earned run average, the lowest by any pitcher in the country since 2009. She finished her career with the best winning percentage in program history at .879 while also ranking in the top 10 in strikeouts (sixth), appearances (ninth), starts (10th), shutouts (10th) and wins (10th).
The 2012 season saw Lombardi's battery combine for one of her most successful seasons at OU as Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults both garnered first-team All-America honors. The duo also received first team NFCA All-Region honors as Ricketts set the program's single-season strikeouts record with 457 strikeouts. Ricketts, who was named the USA Softball Player of the Year, finished the year second nationally in strikeouts (457), strikeouts per seven innings (11.0), ERA (1.08) and wins (37), and she was third in shutouts (15).
As a staff, the 2012 Sooners set program records for both strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings.
Lombardi's battery of Ricketts and Shults each earned All-American honors in 2011 as Ricketts and Shults both earned first and second team All-America honors, respectively. The pair each received first team NFCA All-Region accolades as Ricketts set what was then the program's single-season strikeouts record with 452 strikeouts. She finished the year third nationally with 11.1 strikeouts per seven innings. Ricketts also set an OU single-game record with 19 strikeouts vs. Iona while Michelle Gascoigne threw the seventh perfect game in Oklahoma history with an 8-0 win over Appalachian State.
In 2010, Lombardi guided a freshman pitcher in Ricketts to second team All-America honors. Senior catcher Lindsey Vandever earned second team All-Central Region accolades and the duo earned first team All-Big 12 honors. Vandever also became the third OU player to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. With a pitching staff of two sophomores and two freshmen, Lombardi aided OU in producing a 1.39 earned run average, a mark that was second best in the nation.
Catcher Heather Scaglione earned two straight All-America first team honors in 2004 and 2005. The only two-time first team All-American in school history was also named the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year in those same years. Scaglione remains the only player in Big 12 history to receive the honor twice.
The 2007 season was one of the most successful for the OU battery. The team posted a 55-8 overall record and Lauren Eckermann earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors. Eckermann went on to be named an All-American and tied the school record for most wins in a season with 37. In 2008, pitcher D.J. Mathis and Vandever earned All-Midwest Region and All-Big 12 honors. Mathis also earned second team All-America honors and ranked among the nation's best in several NCAA categories. Vandever and Mathis earned all-Big 12 honors in 2009 and were named to the NFCA All-Central Region team.
In 2004, Lombardi may have had her biggest challenge since joining the OU staff. The pitching coach had to hold together a staff that was missing its No. 1 and No. 2 pitcher for a combined total of 51 games. Despite the shortage of arms, the Sooners were the third best staff (in terms of ERA) in the Big 12. Lombardi's protégé Kami Keiter turned it up another notch during the postseason when she garnered All-Big 12 Tournament and Region I Championship MVP honors.
In 2003, Lombardi guided Keiter out of the shadows of former Sooner great Jennifer Stewart and into stardom. In just her second collegiate season, Keiter led the Big 12 in wins (47) and was ranked in the NCAA top 15 in two pitching categories. The Sooner pitching staff combined for an ERA of 1.40, which ranked as the 18th best in the NCAA.
In her first year on the coaching staff as a student assistant in 1997, the OU pitching staff produced one of the lowest earned run averages in school history and in the country.
The staff finished with a 1.14 ERA to rank seventh in the nation. The Sooners' pitching performances continued to rank among the nation's elite in 1998 and 1999 and the Sooners' improvement culminated in 2000 with a national championship.
In the national championship season, the team registered a 1.44 ERA which was good enough for second in the Big 12 and ranked 25th nationally. The staff posted 24 shutouts and its best strikeout total in three years with 301.
Lombardi helped guide the one-two punch of Lana Moran and Stewart that year. Moran went 26-2 and led the Big 12 with a 1.28 ERA. Stewart was a third team All-America selection and the MOP of the Women's College World Series. Lombardi also helped catcher Ashli Barrett reach new heights as the junior was named a first team All-American.
The Glendale, Ariz., native ended her two-year Sooner playing career with a spectacular senior season in 1996. Her team-leading .345 batting average was a key factor during OU's Big 12 Conference Championship run that year.
She was also instrumental in helping Jill Most and Jennifer Jaime record two of the best pitching seasons in school history. Lombardi caught all three of Most's wins in OU's conference tournament games and was named to the all-tournament team after going 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate with four RBI, two runs scored, a triple and a stolen base.
Lombardi graduated from Oklahoma in 1997 with a degree in health and sports science. She and her husband, John, were married on Nov. 10, 2000. The couple has one child, a son, Gianni Thomas.