Earlier on the way to breaking multiple NCAA records
This is a historic softball season in Oklahoma, and with the postseason looming, there could be even more milestones ahead in the remaining four to five weeks.
The Sooners go into the Big 12 championship week as the nation’s highest-ranked team with a near-perfect record of 48-1. Head coach for the last two seasons Patty Gasos Squad has won 108 games and lost just five times, an exceptional win rate of 0.956.
Oklahoma’s only loss of the season came on April 16 at hands and sticks to the then-ranked 16th Texas Longhorns. Texas starting XI ace Hailey Dolcini held off Sooner’s powerful offense with just two hits and two carries to carry the Longhorns to a 4-2 final-game victory. Both OU runs came in the Sooners finals with a two-run homer by Junior Catcher Kinzie Hansen.
That being said, Oklahoma would boast a perfect 49-0 record. 35 of the Sooners’ 47 wins this season have been decided by the run rule, where a team is ahead by at least eight runs after five full innings. Twenty-eight of OU’s wins came by shutout. That is absolute dominance both on the plate and in the rolling circle.
Contrary to what it might seem, however, not all of Oklahoma’s games were blowouts. The Sooners have played nine games this season that were decided by three runs or fewer. OU prevailed in eight of them, showing their ability and resilience to win tight games
Defensively in the field, the Sooners weren’t quite as flawless as in recent seasons, but as a team, the OU’s fielding percentage (.974) is still the 21st-best in Division I softball.
Best Team in NCAA Softball History?
There are several factors that go into determining the best team in NCAA Division I softball history. Perhaps the most telling measure is the win percentage. As we stand, Oklahoma has a win ratio of 0.956. That would be second-best of all time, with the 1992 UCLA team (54-2, .964) leading the field.
The Sooners are already in the top six teams of all time based on win percentage. In 2013, OU finished 57-4 (.934), which is 5th all-time, and last season’s national champion was 56-4 (.933), the sixth-best tally in Division I softball history.
So let’s play around with some “what ifs”. If Oklahoma were able to lead the table starting with the Big 12 championship this weekend and throughout NCAA regional competition and the Women’s College World Series, the Sooners could add 10 more wins to their total.
Of course, that’s a huge if, given the heightened level of competition coming postseason, but if OU could successfully walk this gauntlet without suffering a loss, this year’s team would finish with a record of 58-1. The resulting win ratio of .983 would eclipse 1992 UCLA by 21 percentage points and take the all-time lead. What it really comes down to is that OU can’t lose more than two games total to eclipse UCLA’s claim for best of all time.
Anything better than a .955 win percentage would put the Sooners in contention for second-best of all time.
However this season ends, the Oklahoma 2022 roster has a legitimate claim to being one of the best teams in college softball history.
If you’re fine, you’re fine…
The win percentage isn’t the only record the Sooners are focused on, however. Led by career leading home run legend Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma set an NCAA record a year ago with 161 home runs in 60 games. With a total of 123 runs home in 49 games this season, the 2021 record seems secure, but the team’s average of 2.51 roundtrippers per game isn’t far off last season’s record of 2.68. At the very least, this might be the second best home run team in history.
For the second straight season, the Sooners lead the nation in slugging percentage. From today’s perspective, OU’s 0.743 slug percentage would rank second best ever. Oklahoma set the record in this category in the 2021 season with a .778 slugging percentage and 1,279 bases overall.
The Sooners averaged 10.63 runs per game last season, a new NCAA record. This year’s team has been similarly prolific offensively, although down slightly at 9.29 per game. Both figures are ranked #1 and #2 in NCAA history.
Pitching is another area where this year’s Sooner team flirts with history. In this case, however, it’s school history and not the best ever nationally. Incredibly, as outstanding as OU’s 0.75 staff earned run average in 49 games is, it falls far short of the best mark ever recorded. However, it is on track to set a new Oklahoma softball record.
Although Division I softball records aren’t immediately available for team shutouts in a season or wins by run-rule, you have to believe that the Sooners’ 35 of 49 wins by run-rule and 28 by shutout are among the best of all times belong. And the 2022 season is not over yet.
Jocelyn Alo became the all-time leader in career home runs this season
Super senior Jocelyn Alo has been hitting balls out of the park in Oklahoma for five seasons. She finished last season with 34 home runs, a new single-season record set by Sooner and 88 for her career. That was just eight fewer than the all-time NCAA record set in 2015 by another former Oklahoma player, Lauren Chamberlain.
Alo broke that record in a game in her home state of Hawaii in mid-March this season. She has 24 things in 48 games this season, second best in Division I softball. The new record is now 112 and counting.