Softball Heads to Starkville for Bulldog Invitational – University of Oklahoma

Date:

1 Oklahoma

Bulldog Invitational

Mississippi State University Logo

March 10-12 / Starkville, Miss. / Nusz Park

WEEKEND BASICS

• Two-time defending national champion and top-ranked Oklahoma is back on the road this weekend, March 10-12, in Starkville, Miss., for four games at the Bulldog Invitational hosted by Mississippi State.

• Oklahoma meets Southeastern Louisiana (12:30 p.m. CT) and MSU (6 p.m.) on Friday before a nationally-televised rematch with the Bulldogs Saturday at 3 p.m. and a Sunday finale vs. Omaha at 10:30 a.m.

• Friday and Sunday’s neutral site games vs. SELU and Omaha can be seen via an “In the Booth” camera on SoonerSports.tv while Friday’s 6 p.m. matchup vs. MSU will stream on SEC Network+ and Saturday’s game vs. the Bulldogs will be televised on SEC Network with Tiffany Greene and Madison Shipman on the call. All games can be heard on the radio via 107.7 The Franchise or The Franchise 2 (103.3 FM, 1560 AM) in Oklahoma and nationwide on The Varsity app with OU play-by-play announcer Chris Plank calling the action.

LAST TIME OUT

• The Sooners swept through home-opening weekend at Marita Hynes Field, celebrating the start of the 25th season of Sooner softball in the venue. OU beat No. 17/16 Kentucky and UIC twice, with a run-rule win over each squad. Friday saw OU beat UIC 5-0 before a 18-0, five-inning win over UK. Saturday, the Sooners beat the Wildcats 7-1 prior to a 9-0 run-rule victory over the Flames.

• Jayda Coleman had an exceptional weekend at the plate, hitting three home runs, two doubles and batting .636 with five RBIs. Before Saturday’s second game vs. UIC in which the junior had just one at-bat, Coleman had homered in five straight games dating back to Feb. 25 vs. LMU.

• In the circle, OU’s pitching staff continued to impress with shutouts in three of the four games and just one run allowed on the weekend to go with 30 strikeouts and three walks. Nicole May K’ed a career-best 11 in Friday’s win over UIC, while Alex Storako threw her second career no-hitter vs. Kentucky Friday, just one hit by pitch away from a perfect contest.

EARLY SEASON STORYLINES

• The Sooners have already collected six ranked wins on the season, including a win over then-No. 1 UCLA at the Mary Nutter Classic. OU meets 11 teams ranked in the preseason coaches top 25, including three of the preseason top five in UCLA, Oklahoma State and Florida State.

• OU is outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 162-14 on the season, surrendering an average of under one run per game. The pitching staff has been exceptional, tossing shutouts in 12 of OU’s 18 games. Junior Nicole May and sophomore Jordy Bahl combined on the staff’s first no-hitter of the season on Feb. 18 vs. Army before Alex Storako threw an individual no-no vs. Kentucky last Friday.

• May leads the pitching staff with a perfect 0.00 ERA and 55 strikeouts, while three of OU’s four pitchers hold ERAs under 1.00.

• As a team, OU is batting a nation-best .391 with 31 home runs. Freshman Jocelyn Erickson has impressed in her initial season in the Crimson and Cream, leading the team with 25 RBIs and is tied with Jayda Coleman for the team lead in home runs with five.


Lead, Coleman UK UIC

LAST TIME THEY MET

Southeastern Louisiana: OU holds a 3-0 all-time record over SELU, last meeting in 2004 with the Sooners beating the Lions 5-4 in Baton Rouge. The other two meetings came in Lafayette in 1991 with OU sweeping SELU, 4-2 and 6-1.

Mississippi State: The Sooners and Bulldogs have met five times in the history of the two programs with OU holding an undefeated 5-0 mark vs. MSU. This weekend will be the first matchups in Starkville as four of the previous five meetings have come on a neutral field. Aside from the teams’ first meeting in Ruston, La., in 1983, every ensuing matchup has come in a season that Oklahoma has won the national title (2000, ’17, ’21 and ’22). OU most recently beat MSU in Irvine, Calif., last season at the Mark Campbell Invitational, winning 9-0 in five innings. MSU is coached by 2009 OU alum and two-time All-American Samantha Ricketts.

Omaha: The Sooners and Mavericks have met four times in program history, with OU holding a 4-0 lead. The teams last met twice in Norman almost six years to the date of this weekend’s matchup. OU run-ruled Omaha by scores of 8-0 and 9-1 each in five innings on March 10, 2017.

HOMER HAPPY

• As OU paced the country in home runs each of the past two seasons (NCAA-record 161 in 2021; 155 in 2022), the Sooners are off to another scorching pace in 2023, having blasted 31 so far in the early season, good for third in the country.

• In 2023, the Sooners have homered in 14 of 18 games, including seven games with multiple home runs. OU hit single-season high six blasts vs. No. 1/1 UCLA (Feb. 26) and No. 17/16 Kentucky (March 3). The Sooners have hit two-plus in 14 games, three-plus in four games and six twice in a game this season.

• Individually, 11 Sooners have already hit a long ball in 2023 out of the 16 active non-pitchers on the roster. Of those 11, eight have multi-homer games, including seven with three-plus and three with four or more, paced by Jayda Coleman and Jocelyn Erickson’s five a piece.

• Coleman and Kinzie Hansen each have multi-homer games on the season.

• Additionally, OU has hit five homers in one inning once this year (vs. Kentucky, 3/3), hit four in an inning twice, three-plus in two, and two-plus in three.

• The Sooners have hit back-to-back blasts three times this season and three consecutive once.

OUT OF THIS WORLD OFFENSE

• Since 2021, Oklahoma has paced the country offensively in several categories. OU led the nation in home runs in 2021 (161) and 2022 (155) and sit at third with 31 in the early 2023 season. Their 2021 mark broke an 11-year NCAA record for single-season home runs.

• In OU’s recent span of offensive domination, the team has led the country in batting average for three straight seasons: 2021 – NCAA-record .405; 2022 – .371; 2023 – .391

• Additionally, the team has paced the country in runs, runs per game and slugging each of the past three seasons. The 2021 team’s 638 runs, 10.63 runs/game and .778 SLG % all stand as NCAA records.

• In 2023, OU paces the country with an average of 9.0 runs/game, a .391 batting average and .709 slugging clip.

ELITE IN THE CIRCLE

• OU’s pitching staff has been equally as dominant as the offense the past three seasons. The staff has led the country in shutouts the last two seasons (23 in 2021, school-record 33 in 2022) and are second in shutouts already in 2023 with 12 in OU’s 18 games.

• The Sooner arms led the country in ERA a season ago with an exceptional 1.05 mark and are off to a dominant start in 2023, ranking third with a 0.93 earned run average.

• The staff has two no-hitters under their belt already in 2023 after Nicole May and Jordy Bahl combined to no-hit Army on Feb. 18 before Alex Storako threw her second career individual no-no vs. Kentucky on March 3. These come a year after the staff had six no-hitters and two perfect games a season ago.

• Three of OU’s four pitchers hold ERA’s less than 1.00, led by Nicole May’s perfect 0.00 average. The others: Alex Storako – 0.27; Kierston Deal – 0.62; Jordy Bahl – 2.33.

• The quartet has fanned a combined 140 batters in 2023 to go with just 31 walks. May leads the group with 55 K’s to Bahl’s 40. The four have allowed opponents to bat just .162 against them and surrendered just 14 runs, an average of 0.77/game. In OU’s six games that they’ve allowed a run across, the staff has limited the damage with no opponent scoring more than four runs in 2023 (done twice).

Lead, Storako Pitcher of the Week

MORE NOTES & NUMBERS

• Oklahoma has won 132 of its last 140 games (.943 win %) dating back to the start of the 2021 season. 

• Of those 140 games, 87 have been run-rule victories (62%).

• Of OU’s six games against top-25 competition, three have been run-rule wins. Furthermore, in those six ranked victories, the Sooners have outscored opponents 58-6.

• OU’s defense ranks first in the country with an exceptional .992 fielding percentage, committing just three errors on the season. The Sooners last committed an error on Feb. 11 vs. Washington. The defense has turned 16 double plays already in 2023.

• Oklahoma has outhit its opponent in 17 of 18 games on the season, and in the one game they didn’t outhit the opposition (vs. Texas A&M, 2/24), the Sooners won 8-0 in run-rule fashion in five innings (five hits to A&M’s six).

• The Sooners have been dominant across all innings in 2023, but specifically the second inning, outscoring teams 49-0 in the second. The team has not surrendered runs in each the second, sixth, seventh or extra innings on the season.

BACK ON TOP 

• The Sooners streak of being the top-ranked team for 31 consecutive coaches polls dating back to March 2, 2021 was snapped Feb. 21 after a narrow 4-3 loss at Baylor. Oklahoma quickly regained the top spot last week after a 14-0 thrashing of then-No. 1 UCLA. OU has been the No. 1 team in both major rankings for 33 of the last 34 polls dating back to March 2, 2021.

•  Oklahoma was chosen as the unanimous No. 1 in both the 2023 USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll and ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Preseason Top 25. 

• Oklahoma’s No. 1 spot in the NFCA poll marks the fourth time the Sooners enter a season in the top spot (2017, ’18, ’22, ’23) and the third time OU has been the unanimous choice in the coaches poll, joining the 2017 and 2022 squads. 

• OU received 800 total points and all 32 first-place votes to lead No. 2 UCLA (747) and No. 3 Oklahoma State (723) in the preseason poll. Florida and Florida State rounded out the top five.

• Additionally, it’s the 12th straight year the Sooners have started in the NFCA’s top 10, good for the nation’s longest active streak. OU has been ranked in the top five 10 of the past 11 years, the most over that stretch.

• Overall, the Sooners are tied with Arizona for second with 23 top-10 appearances in the NFCA preseason poll, trailing only UCLA’s 24.

• Oklahoma, UCLA and Washington are the only programs to be ranked in every NFCA preseason poll, which dates back to 1995. OU also extended its streak of being the only program ranked every week in the 28-year existence of the NFCA’s poll, 407 straight polls (start of 2023).

25TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARITA HYNES FIELD

• 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of historic Marita Hynes Field in Norman. The iconic field that has housed the nation’s premier program opened its gates in 1998 and the Sooners have since gone 533-62-1 (.893).

• The field, named for former softball coach and senior woman administrator Marita Hynes on April 24, 2004, has a current capacity of 1,378 with standing room for over 2,000. The largest crowd to ever watch an OU softball game at the venue was May 4, 2019, with 2,076 in attendance for Bedlam vs. Oklahoma State.

• Oklahoma has gone undefeated on its home field four seasons since 1998, including each of the past two years. The Sooners last home loss was Feb. 29, 2020, a narrow 4-3 decision to North Texas. Over the past five seasons, OU holds a 100-2 mark at MHF.

• 2023 is anticipated to be the final season played at Marita Hynes as OU looks to open the state-of-the-art Love’s Field in 2024.

BIG 12 FAVORITES

• The ten-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma softball team has been voted by the league’s head coaches as the 2023 preseason favorite.

• The Sooners received 36 points in this year’s poll and were followed by Oklahoma State with 29 and Texas with 28. OU received six of the seven first-place votes with OSU garnering the other. This marks the 11th straight year and 14th in the last 15 seasons that OU has topped the conference’s preseason poll.

• Baylor was selected fourth (20 points) and Iowa State fifth (16 points). Rounding out the poll was Texas Tech (12 points) and Kansas (6 points).

• The Sooners finished the Big 12 regular season 17-1 in 2022 en route to their tenth consecutive conference regular season crown.

• Oklahoma holds a combined Big 12 record of 161-15 the past 10 seasons and has not lost a conference series since 2011.

• Overall, the program has won 21 Big 12 titles (14 regular season titles and seven Big 12 tournament championships) all under head coach Patty Gasso.

OU-TEXAS FRIDAY NIGHT GAME MOVED TO OKC

• The Oklahoma softball program and USA Softball recently announced the Friday night game of the Oklahoma vs. Texas series on March 31 at 6 p.m. CT will be moved from Marita Hynes Field in Norman to USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City. The second and third games of the series will still be played in Norman on Saturday (11 a.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.).

• OU, the designated home team, will assume hosting duties including ticket sales for the game in OKC, the first meeting of a rematch of the 2022 WCWS Championship Series. Current season ticket holders will receive complimentary tickets to the series in Oklahoma City, receiving the same number of tickets as they have season tickets at Marita Hynes Field. Those complimentary tickets can be accessed via the Oklahoma Sooners app and will be sent with your 2023 season tickets.

• Limited tickets are still available via SoonerSports.com/tickets and through the OU Athletics Ticket Office. Ticket prices will range from $25-$50. Friday’s game is set for a 6 p.m. CT start at USA Softball HOF Complex.

CONFERENCE DOMINANCE

• OU finished the Big 12 regular season 17-1 en route to winning its 14th regular season crown and 10th consecutive in 2022.

•  The Sooners have won 76 of their last 78 Big 12 regular season games. Their streak of 57 consecutive that ended in Stillwater with a narrow loss to the Cowgirls in 2021 was the longest in conference and program history.

•  OU is unbeaten in their last 66 conference series (62-0-4 in that span) and have not lost a conference series since 2011.

•  OU has finished first in the Big 12 over the past 10 seasons with a combined record of 161-15. Prior to OU’s current run of 10 straight regular season titles, no team had ever won more than two consecutive.

•  Overall, the Sooners have 21 Big 12 titles with 14 regular season crowns and seven Big 12 tournament championships, all under head coach Patty Gasso.

HOME RUN U

• Oklahoma is officially Home Run University. With Jocelyn Alo’s record-breaking career homer No. 96 (122 career total), two Sooners sit atop the NCAA record books for career home runs in Alo and 2015 alum Lauren Chamberlain. 

• In addition to Alo and Chamberlain, 2015 alum Shelby Pendley sits at 10th all-time with 84 career blasts. 

• More evidence of the Sooners staking claim to HRU is the past two seasons when OU has lit up the record books: 

• 2021 saw the Sooners set NCAA records for home runs (161), runs scored (638), runs per game (10.63) and homers per game (2.68), among other records. 

Jocelyn Alo hit 34 blasts in 2021 and 2022 for second all-time in single-season NCAA history, just three shy of Laura Espinoza’s (Arizona) 37 in 1995. Alo’s 2018 along with Chamberlain’s 2012 and ’13 where each hit 30 homers a piece all rank in the all-time top-10. 

• Current junior Tiare Jennings nearly matched Alo and Chamberlain’s record (30) for freshman homers in 2021, hitting 27 to come within three of the NCAA frosh record. She followed suit in 2022 with 29 round-trippers.

• Jennings looks to continue the legacy at Oklahoma with two more seasons in the Crimson & Cream and already holding the No. 5 spot in the OU record book with 59 career homers. The two-time unanimous All-American is just six blasts shy of third place in program history.

• Senior captain Grace Lyons has come into her own offensively, hitting a career single-season best 23 blasts last year to bring her career total to 50, good for eighth in the OU record book.

CHAMPIONSHIP MINDSET SERIES STREAMING NOW

• The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department and its multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD, launched in January “Championship Mindset” – a brand-new original content series exclusively featuring Oklahoma softball.

• As the 2023 OU softball team prepares its competitive journey to a third straight national championship, the five-part series delivers authentic, behind-the-scenes access for fans.

• “Championship Mindset” will feature never-before-seen interviews with the team’s coaches and student-athletes, giving fans a special and unique look into the legacy that is Oklahoma softball.

• All five episodes can be viewed on ESPN+, YouTube and on a dedicated page within SoonerSports.com, including snippets on Oklahoma softball’s official social platforms.

• Three episodes have been released, with two more episodes to be released later this season.

• LEARFIELD’s dedicated content team, LEARFIELD Studios, produced and directed the series in complete collaboration with Oklahoma’s athletics administration.


TICKETS ON SALE FOR OMNI HOTELS HALL OF FAME CLASSIC

Tickets for the third annual Omni Hall of Fame Classic played at USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, March 17-19, are still available for purchase. Saturday’s session is officially sold out but tickets for Friday and Sunday’s games are still available.

Fans can purchase both all-session passes and single-session tickets for the three-day event via SoonerSports.com/tickets or by contacting the OU Ticket Office at 405.325.2424. Chairback seats are available for $100 for all-session and $40 for single sessions, while bleacher seats are $75 for all-session and $30 for single sessions. Tickets for youth under 18 or seniors over the age of 55 are available in the bleacher seats for $50 (all-session) and $20 (single-session). Group tickets are available for $15 (single-session only).

Hall of Fame Classic tickets are not included as part of a softball season ticket and all season ticket holders must purchase tickets to this event.

A presale for season ticket holders, Trophy Club members and program donors will be held Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. before the public sale on Wednesday. This presale can be accessed by logging on to your OU Athletics account or by contacting the OU Ticket Office at 405.325.2424.

The Sooners meet Auburn, Northwestern and Weber State at the 2023 edition of the Hall of Fame tournament in Oklahoma City. The host Sooners have gone undefeated in the tournament since its inception in 2021, compiling a 9-0 record. For the full schedule and game times, see the Sooners full schedule here.

THE TROPHY CLUB

• The Oklahoma softball program has announced the launch of its restructured booster club under a new name, The Trophy Club.

• The Trophy Club replaces the former Diamond Club as the program’s premier booster initiative to continue to enhance the student-athlete experience at Oklahoma, both on and off the field.

• Softball fans can join now and take part in exclusive events, including the annual golf tournament, coaches luncheon and more.

For membership details and how donations will be utilized, visit The Trophy Club landing page on SoonerSports.com.

• Gifts to the Trophy Club and Oklahoma softball will be utilized for: resources for the development of our student-athletes, facility upgrades to enhance recruiting and student-athlete experiences and improved quality of travel to increase academic participation by our student-athletes.


For updates and more information on Oklahoma softball, follow the Sooners on Twitter and Instagram (@OU_Softball) and like Oklahoma Softball on Facebook.

Share post:

Popular

More like this
Related