NORMAN — The final field has been set for the Women’s College World Series. And, while eight teams will compete in Oklahoma City next week for a shot at the national title, only one has clearly set itself apart from the rest.
That team is Oklahoma. The top-ranked Sooners own the best record in the country at 52-4 and have continued to dominate through the postseason. They won four of their five games on the road to the World Series in run-rule fashion and punched their ticket over the weekend with a pair of run-rule wins over Texas A&M. None of the other teams in the tournament earned even one run-rule victory in the Super Regionals.
The numbers paint the full picture of how dominant the Sooners have been. They’ve outscored postseason opponents 59-8. Five players are batting over .380, and a pair of players in Lauren Chamberlain and Brittany Williams batting more than .700, bringing OU’s team average to nearly .400.
Their opponents, on the other hand, are batting just .188 as Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne have combined for an ERA of 2.00 while striking out 44 hitters.
Heading into Thursday’s first-round matchup with Michigan (48-10), the Sooners aren’t putting much stock into numbers.
“None of that matters,” coach Patty Gasso said. “It’s all about rising to the occasion.”
The Sooners certainly did that against Texas A&M last weekend. The Aggies entered the Super Regional confident after defeating Baylor and the Bears’ ace Whitney Canion in a regional final that went to the last possible out in a three-game series, but left Norman thoroughly defeated after two performances in which the Sooners made the Aggies look bad at times.
“The score’s might look like ‘wow,’ but I don’t feel that,” coach Patty Gasso said. “I feel a tight game going out there. Texas A&M was a good test for us and they made us better. They made Keilani step up and be on her game, and she did a really great job answering.”
She expects more of the same at the World Series. Joining OU and Michigan are Florida, Nebraska, Arizona State, Washington, Texas and Tennessee. The Volunteers defeated Alabama in the super regional, the team that knocked OU off in the championship game last year to grab the national title.
OU has a 5-2 record against this years’ World Series teams, posting a 2-1 record against both Texas and Nebraska, both of whom the Sooners dropped a game to earlier in the season. They also posted a win over Washington back in February.
“I’m just extremely proud of this team,” Gasso said. “Being one of final eight is quite an accomplishment. They gave us another chance to fight for a national championship.”
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