Bedlam Softball Begins Friday in Stillwater
NORMAN — The No. 1/1 Oklahoma softball team closes out regular season play this weekend with a three-game series against No. 12/13 Oklahoma State. Bedlam begins on Friday in Stillwater (6 p.m.) before the two teams face off in Norman on Saturday (7 p.m.); the series finale is set for Sunday (3 p.m.) in Stillwater.
For the third year in a row, the Bedlam series will decide the Big 12 regular season champion. The Sooners can secure the crown with one win, while the Cowgirls can end OU’s run of seven straight championships with a three-game sweep.
Friday’s game is slated to be broadcast on Fox Sports Plus. The next two games will be aired nationally, with Saturday’s game on ESPN and Sunday’s contest on FSN.
Tickets for the remainder of the 2019 OU softball home season are sold out.
Saturday's game will be senior night, featuring a postgame recognition of seniors Falepolima Aviu, Caleigh Clifton, Shay Knighten, Kylie Lundberg, Raegan Rogers and Sydney Romero.
OU Athletics introduced a clear bag policy and walk-through metal detectors at all home events this season. More information can be found here.
THERE'S ONLY ONE OKLAHOMA
After sweeping Iowa State on the road last week, the Sooners remained ranked No. 1 in both the USA Today/NFCA Division I Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 for the third week in a row. Oklahoma is the only program to be ranked every week of the NFCA poll all-time, a run of 364 straight polls.
Oklahoma earned its first NFCA No. 1 ranking after winning the 2000 national championship. It spent a school-record 11 straight weeks at No. 1 during the 2013 season, and also earned the designation after winning national titles in 2016 and 2017. The Sooners opened the 2017 and 2018 seasons as the No. 1 preseason team and were most recently ranked first by the NFCA Poll in week two of the 2018 season.
Speaking of No. 1, Oklahoma leads the nation in the following statistical categories: batting average (.366), fielding percentage (.987), home runs per game (1.96), on-base percentage (.457), runs per game (8.15), shutouts (21), slugging percentage (.681), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.82) and win-loss percentage (.957).
Oklahoma has won 35 consecutive games, a program record and the nation’s longest active streak. It marks the third time in school annals that OU has strung together 30 straight wins and the seventh instance of 20 straight. The school record was broken on April 24 as the Sooners took down Wichita State to claim their 32nd straight win.
Overall, 35 straight wins are tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in NCAA Division I Softball history.
Oklahoma has also won 40 straight Big 12 games, marking an OU and a Big 12 record. Its last conference loss was to Baylor in Norman on April 23, 2017.
The Sooners’ win over Texas on April 19 put the Sooners at 40-2 on the year, marking the fewest games played in order to reach 40 wins in program history. Previously, the 2013 and 2018 teams reached the milestone in 43 games.
OU was undefeated in both March (19-0) and April (13-0). Under 25th-year head coach Patty Gasso, the Sooners have only gone undefeated throughout an entire month seven times, excluding June, and they have never done so twice in one season. The feat was also accomplished in March 2018, May 2016, February 2013, February 2007 and April 2001.
Friday marks the end of an 11-game road swing that will stand as the longest streak of true road games under 25th-year head coach Patty Gasso. In its program history, Oklahoma has only ever played more consecutive true road contests once, opening the 1981 season with 12 straight away games.
The Sooners will be road tested in 2019 with 38 of their 51 games being held on the road or at neutral sites. Oklahoma will play just 13 games at Marita Hynes Field in 2019. OU has played fewer regular season home games just three other times in the Gasso era: nine in 1997, 12 in 1996 and six in 1995.
The Sooners are playing a road-heavy schedule primarily due to Big 12 scheduling. In 2018, the Sooners’ series against Iowa State was moved to Norman due to snow in Ames, Iowa. As a result, Oklahoma will travel to Ames in both 2019 and 2020 and will host just four conference games (Baylor series and one Bedlam contest) in Norman this year.
Oklahoma has shown to be up to the test, winning 58 of its last 59 true road contests, including 18 in 2019.
HOME SWEET 'HOMA
With a 12-0 record at home this season, Oklahoma is currently on a program-record 46-game winning streak. OU’s 16-0 victory over Baylor on April 7 marked the 46th consecutive home win, breaking a school record that stood for over 17 years. The Sooners have not lost at Marita Hynes Field since May 20, 2017; the previous program best of 45 straight home wins was achieved from April 14, 2000 to March 29, 2002.
In 2018, the Sooners went 30-0 at Marita Hynes Field, including a 25-0 mark in the regular season. It marked the second perfect home record in school annals, also occurring in 2001 (18-0). Additionally, 30 home wins were the second-most in OU history behind the 2014 team’s 32.
ROMERO, JUAREZ FINALISTS FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Oklahoma senior infielder Sydney Romero and junior pitcher Giselle Juarez were named two of the 26 finalists for the 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year last week. OU is one of seven programs in the country to have multiple finalists for the award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in NCAA Division I softball.
The top 10 finalists will be announced May 8 and the top three announced May 22. The 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 28. Oklahoma alumna and current volunteer assistant coach Keilani Ricketts was a two-time recipient of the award.
JUAREZ, ALO EARN BIG 12 WEEKLY HONORS
On Tuesday, junior pitcher Giselle Juarez was tabbed the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the third straight week and the fifth time this season. Sophomore utility player Jocelyn Alo was named Big 12 Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Oklahoma State’s Samantha Show, for her first weekly accolade this season.
Juarez went 2-0 over two starts at Iowa State last weekend, registering her second perfect game of the season in the series finale. She became the first Big 12 pitcher since Paige Parker in 2015 to have multiple perfect games in a season.
The Glendale, Ariz., native struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced on Sunday, the most by a Big 12 pitcher in a conference game this season. Juarez also fanned 10 batters in the series opener on Friday to finish with a league-high 22 strikeouts and 12.83 strikeouts per seven innings pitched. She also lead the Big 12 with a .098 opponent batting average.
Alo led the Big 12 in slugging percentage (1.818), hits (7), home runs (4), runs scored (5), RBIs (10) and total bases (20) last week. She finished 7-for-11 at the plate and ranked second in the conference in batting average (.636) and on-base percentage (.714).
Alo hit two home runs at Wichita State on April 24, marking her second game this season with multiple home runs and the fifth of her career. She crushed her first career grand slam in game one of the doubleheader at ISU and also homered in game two.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with the Cowgirls with an 90-70 record. Although OU holds the advantage in Norman (41-21), OSU leads in Stillwater (33-31). The Sooners have more wins over the Cowgirls than any other team in program history and head coach Patty Gasso has more wins vs. OSU than any other team with 61.
The Sooners have won 20 straight in the series and 23 of the past 24 matchups. The last loss for OU in the series came in Stillwater on April 27, 2011, meaning the Sooners have won eight straight at Cowgirl Stadium. Oklahoma has won 22 straight at home vs. Oklahoma State, last losing on May 17, 1997.
The Sooners have also won seven straight series vs. OSU. Since the Big 12’s inception, OU has done no worse than a split against OSU in the regular season series and claimed in-state bragging rights in 20 of the 23 seasons.