The great thing about opening a season in any sport is that every team starts with a perfect record. In the case of Oklahoma softball and baseball this season, that still holds true a combine 24 games later.
Two weeks into the spring baseball and softball seasons, neither the Sooner men nor women have tasted defeat in posting a combined record of 24-0.
The OU men polished off three opponents over the weekend to capture the Kleberg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, and remain unbeaten through nine games, while the women ran their winning streak to 15 games to start the season and remain No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Softball national rankings.
The Sooners scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to pull within a run a New Mexico on Sunday in the Kleberg Classic, and got a three-run, game-winning, home-run blast from shortstop Jack Mayfield to cap off the scoring and post a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Led by senior left-handed pitcher Keilani Ricketts, who along with teammate Michelle Gascoigne has won all seven of her starts this season, the Sooner softball squad has won 10 of its 15 games by shutout scores. Moreover, seven of the 15 wins have been against ranked opponents and all seven were shutouts. The OU women have outscored their seven ranked opponents by the combined count of 47-0.
And all the this while coach Patty Gasso's 2013 softball team has yet to play a single game at home. The women host former Big 12 school Nebraska in their season opener at the OU Softball Complex on Friday.
Designated hitter Max Oberste went five for 12 over the weekend and collected five RBI, which helped earn him Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the second straight week. The power-hitting junior DH leads the conference in both home runs (3) and hits (15) after the opening two weeks of the season.
The Sooner men moved up four spots, to 12th from 16th, in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll. OU faces a stern test this weekend, when the travel out to Southern California to take on Pepperdine (6-2), ranked 29th this week by Collegiate Baseball. Oklahoma is off to its best start on the baseball diamond in two seasons. In 2011, the Sooners won their first 16 games before suffering their first loss in game No. 17 on the season.
Team chemistry has been a major contributing factor to the Sooners' collective success early on this season, according to head coach Sunny Golloway, in his eighth years as the OU baseball skipper. "We continue to be impressed by the way our players care aboyut one another," he said. "They all seem to really enjoy each other's company. I always call them a ‘band of brothers.'"
Archrival Texas is a close second to the Sooners in terms of success so far in both baseball and softball. The Longhorn women have won 16 of 17 in softball, and the men are 6-1 in baseball for a combined record of 22-2 in both sports. The big difference between the Sooners and Horns in softball, however, is that all but five of Texas' 17 softball contests to start the 2013 campaign have been at home.
The Sooners were the preseason choice of the league coaches in both baseball and softball to come out on top in the conference standings come early June. Both teams have gotten off to tremendous starts and are more than living up to expectations right out of the starting gate. But as we all know, it is still very early and there's a long way to go.
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