The Oklahoma Sooners softball team didn’t have a perfect season. Early adversity and a first-game loss in the Norman Regional made this preseason No. 1 squad a risky pick to advance back to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. But the defending national champs are back from the brink, and after sweeping through the Auburn Super Regional, they’re looking as strong as ever.
On the other side of the bracket, Florida, UCLA, Texas A&M and LSU will battle it out, while OU’s section includes Oregon, Washington and Baylor. The Sooners open WCWS play on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. against the Bears.
The weight of expectation was an early impediment for OU, but the Sooners ended up rolling through their conference schedule for another Big 12 title. They locked up the No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, meaning they got a regional at home but had to go on the road for the supers.
Not a problem — after dropping its first game of the Norman Regional, OU swept through the rest of its contests and then beat Auburn, last year’s WCWS runner-up, in two straight.
Last year’s WCWS MOP Paige Parker has been lights-out down the stretch and enters OKC with a tiny 1.29 ERA and 23 wins. But she doesn’t have to carry the whole staff quite as much this year, as Paige Lowary and Mariah Lopez have emerged as reliable backup options.
Sophomores Caleigh Clifton and Shay Knighten, NFCA All-Americans with Parker, will lead the OU offensive attack.
OU has dominated Baylor recently, winning seven of their last eight matchups by a combined score of 44-15.
How to Watch
OU’s 8:30 game against Baylor will be on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. OU will play either Oregon or Washington in Game 2, and all WCWS contests will be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2.
The WCWS is a double-elimination tournament until the best-of-three championship series.