Winner of five straight Big 12 titles, the Oklahoma softball team has earned the No. 3 overall seed in the 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Championship. OU has earned a national seed each of the last 10 seasons and is a top-3 seed for the third time since the Super Regional format was introduced in 2005.
Advancing out of the Norman Regional, OU hosts No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend in the Super Regional. Game one is set for Thursday night, while game two and an if necessary game will take place Friday night at Marita Hynes Field.
Games one and two of the series will be on ESPN2, while game three will be on ESPNU if necessary. Adam Amin will handle play-by-play duties with analyst Amanda Scarborough.
Fans can listen to each of OU’s games on KEBC 1560 in Norman or online via link on SoonerSports.com.
Against the NCAA Tournament field this year, the Sooners were an impressive 20-6 (.769) during the regular season
Super Regional Experience
Oklahoma is making its 10th overall appearance in the Super Regionals since the format was introduced in 2005. Only three schools have been to more Supers, while OU also ranks eighth in all-time Super Regional wins and win percentage of teams that have been to at least five Super Regionals.
The Sooners have made each of the last seven Super Regionals, tying for the second longest active streak in the NCAA.
This will be the fifth time that OU hosts the Super Regionals, including the fourth time in the last five years. At home, Oklahoma is 6-3 all-time in Super Regional play.
Against the Super Regional Field
Each of the 16 Super Regional teams has played at least four games against the rest of the field. With wins over Alabama, Utah and UCLA, and losses to Michigan and Washington, OU ranks sixth in win percentage among Super Regional teams with a 3-2 record (.600).
Oklahoma trails the all-time series against Louisiana-Lafayette 11-15 (.423), but owns a 3-0 mark in Norman. Since OU head coach Patty Gasso arrived in 1995 the Sooners are 10-10 against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
The teams have met four times previously in the postseason with Oklahoma owning a 3-1 edge in those meetings. The teams split a pair of games in the Tucson Regional Final in 2004 as OU advanced. They met again the following year in the Norman Regional with the Sooners winning 6-3. The last meeting between the schools came in the 2014 WCWS as OU won 3-1.
This season has seen OU and ULL play three common opponents: Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech. The Ragin’ Cajuns went 4-1 against those teams, including a two-game split with Baylor in Waco. Oklahoma was a perfect 9-0 over those teams.
Last Time They Met
The teams last faced each other in 2014, playing four times total with each team winning twice. The Sooners took one of three games in Lafayette before winning again in the WCWS.
Oklahoma took the series opener, 13-5, behind a 3-RBI, 2-4 game from Erin Miller. Kelsey Stevens got the win as she struck out seven and allowed five runs on six hits in 7.0 innings. Louisana-Lafayette came back in game two to secure a 7-0 win as OU’s lone hit came in the top of the seventh. The Ragin’ Cajuns then swept the doubleheader with a 3-1 victory in game two.
OU and ULL were paired up once again in the loser’s bracket of the 2014 WCWS where the Sooners won 3-1. Stevens struck out seven and stranded 11 runners.
Oklahoma is making its 23rd postseason appearance overall which is tied for 12th most in NCAA history. In addition, OU is fifth all-time in postseason wins and owns the seventh-best win percentage all-time.
The Sooners have reached the postseason in each of the past 23 seasons. Only Arizona is currently on a longer active streak.
Sooners Enter Supers on 25-Game Win Streak
OU has not lost a game since a 5-2 setback to Kansas on April 2, a streak of 25 games. It’s the second longest in program annals behind the program record of 29 games in 2005.
During the current streak, OU has four top-25 wins, 10 shutouts and six run-rules. The Sooners are 13-0 at home, 10-0 on the road and 2-0 at neutral sites. Fifteen of the wins have been against the Big 12 and 10 have been non-conference.
The 25-game streak is the longest active run in the country. In fact, Oklahoma has won 32 of its past 33 contests dating back to March 19. From that point through Regionals, no team has a better win percentage in the country than OU.
During the streak, Shay Knighten leads the team in batting average (.423) and RBI (25), while Erin Miller leads in runs (25), hits (34) and doubles (9) and is tied with Nicole Pendley with a .642 slugging pct. Pendley also leads OU with five HRs. Caleigh Clifton has a team-high 22 walks, .573 OBP and six SB.
The pitching staff has a remarkable 0.94 ERA during the streak, led by Paige Parker who has a 0.86 ERA, 130 strikeouts and an opponets’ batting average of .175 in 113.1 innings.
Clifton's On-Base Streak Ends at 30
Caleigh Clifton had a streak of reaching base in 30 straight games before it ended in the final game of the Regional. It was the longest by an OU player this season and the longest since Lauren Chamberlain reached safely in the final 25 games of 2014 and the first 13 of 2015 for a 38-game streak.
During her run, Clifton had 25 hits, 26 walks and 14 hit by pitches. Four times during the streak she had a hit, walk and hit by pitch in the same game.
She posted a slash line of .391/.619/.656 during those 30 games and scored 32 runs with 19 RBI, three doubles, a triple, four home runs and eight stolen bases.
Clifton is the team’s leader in walks and hit by pitch this year. Additionally, she leads the Big 12 and is 12th nationally in OBP at .581, a figure that would be fifth in OU annals.
Parker Enjoys Another Dominant Run
Before giving up two runs in the third inning to Wichita State in the Regionals, Paige Parker hadn’t allowed a run over the last 23.0 IP and hadn’t given up an earned run in 32.2 IP. She has eight career streaks of 20.0 scoreless IP, including four this year.
Earlier this year, Parker had a career-best streak of 30.1 scoreless innings from the sixth inning on April 1 against Kansas to the third inning on April 10 at Baylor. It was the longest streak by an OU pitcher since Keilani Ricketts had a 34.1 inning scoreless streak from Feb. 21 - March 2, 2013.
Sooners Defense Playing at Historic Level
With just 23 errors in 1462 chances, Oklahoma is second in the nation with a .984 fielding percentage, percentage points behind Florida. OU’s figure would shatter the school record (.979 in 1999), set a new Big 12 standard (.983 by Texas A&M in 2008) and go down as No. 5 in NCAA history.
The 23 errors are the fewest in the nation. The Sooners have been error-free in 36 of 57 games and have only had two multi-error performances on the season.
The numbers are even more impressive when considering the usual starting infield since April 1 has consisted of three true freshmen and a sophomore.
Every one of Oklahoma’s main offensive starters has a batting average of at least .323 and every spot in the lineup is hitting at least .325 ... Oklahoma is hitting at least .365 in every inning except the fourth (.296) ... OU is outscoring teams 135-15 over the first two innings this year and hasn’t given up a run in the first two frames since March 30, a streak of 27 games ... Sooner pitchers have given up just one home run in the last 11 games and seven total in the last 35 contests ... OU hurlers have also allowed just seven earned runs over the last 16 games, sporting a 0.48 ERA over those 102.0 innings
Shay Knighten has a team-best .547 average in home games, while Kelsey Arnoldleads OU with a .423 mark in non-conference games ... Erin Miller leads the team in multi-hit games (26) and multi-RBI games (15); the team is 32-1 with her in the leadoff spot ... Paige Parker has not given up a first inning run yet this year in 30.0 innings, has a 1.21 ERA in home games, a 1.35 ERA against non-conference foes and has a win in 21 straight appearances
Through 5/22, Paige Parker is sixth among active pitchers in career ERA (1.52; min. 200 IP), 10th in shutouts (22), 17th in K/7 (7.66; min. 400 IP), 31st in wins (59) and 50th in strikeouts (459) ... Erin Miller is 25th among active NCAA players with 11 career triples ... Kelsey Stevens is 14th among active pitchers in games started (110) and career victories (71), 16th in K/7 (7.67; min. 400 IP), 17th in shutouts (19), 21st in appearances (140), 22nd in strikeouts (617) and 50th in innings pitched (563.3) ... among players with at least 100 career at-bats, Shay Knighten ranks 43rd in batting average (.395) and 49th in slugging (.678)