Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
Yet to lose, Sooner softball dominance hardly fair, almost impossible to gauge
By almost any measure, the gap between coach Patty Gasso's squad and everybody else remains unthinkably and impossibly great
It’s borderline unfair.
Wait, scrap that.
It’s entirely unfair what coach Patty Gasso’s Sooners are doing on the softball diamond and Saturday was another example.
Already up eight runs at Texas Tech, enough to secure their 29th run-rule victory in the space of 35 games in a season that has only included victories, Gasso gave Grace Green an at bat, pinch-hitting her for Taylon Snow, who despite entering the afternoon hitting an insane .485, was sitting 0 for 3 for the day.
Green stepped in hitting .158 only to deposit a Kendall Fritz offering over the left-field wall, a three-run jack, forging what became an 11-0 final score.
Not that the Red Raiders had any prayer of coming back, nor even of forcing a sixth inning, though they managed to put a runner on base when Hope Trautwein opened the frame plunking Riley Love.
In just about any universe, Love would have come around to score on the ball Peyton Jackson lifted down the right-field line, too. Only in Saturday’s universe, at Lubbock, on Rocky Johnson Field, Riley Boone, who began nearer right-center field than straight up right field, chased it down and nabbed it in a full leaping dive over the foul line.
Like it’s not enough the Sooners are unbeaten, have played the full seven innings just six times, are collectively hitting .386, they must also crush souls along the way, making plays that would be the difference in the tightest contests, games one presumes they’ll still have to play come the World Series.
Saturday’s final score was the same as Friday’s, when OU mashed even more than it mashed Saturday.
The Sooners collected six home runs in the that one, including three from NCAA all-time leader Jocelyn Alo, pushing her season mark to 19 and her career mark to 107. Grace Lyons hit two and Tiare Jennings one.
Jennings hit another Saturday, as did Lyons. Kinzie Hansen hit one, her fifth of the season and Green’s was her third.
A year ago, when OU received the NCAA’s No. 1 overall seed entering regional play, Gasso was not happy.
She didn’t want it.
She’d heard all season her strength of schedule wasn’t what it ought to be, her pitching was suspect, nor did she care for the draw that would have OU meeting Washington in a super regional.
None of it agreed with her.
She may not want it again this season, but she’s going to have a hard time running away from it.
She hasn’t lost and she may not and her squad’s numbers appear stolen from “Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”
Alo entered Saturday hitting .531, getting on base .689 and slugging 1.358.
In his very best season, 2004, Barry Bonds hit .362, got on base .609 and slugged .812.
If that's a bad comparison, how about this one?
In her very best season, 2013, the great Lauren Chamberlain hit .458, got on base .613 and slugged 1.113.
Alo is crushing every one of those numbers.
Can the Sooners be in the business of stealing nicknames, because Alo’s stats are beyond Ruthian, making her the real "Sultan of Swat."
More believe it or not stuff:
Tiare Jennings entered Saturday hitting .396, getting on base .534 and slugging .912. The home run she hit off her old teammate, Tech starting pitcher Olivia Rains, was her 15th of the season.
By any measure, she’s having a fantastic sophomore year.
She’s also hitting for a lower average than Alo, Snow, Boone, Jayda Coleman and Lyons, getting on-base at a lesser clip than Alo, Coleman and Snow, slugging at a lesser clip than Alo and Lyons and hitting fewer home runs that Alo and Lyons.
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OU’s earned run average dropped to 0.62 on Saturday thanks to Hope Trautwein’s shutout, one that included seven strikeouts, a single hit and fou walks.
The next lowest collective earned run average in the nation entering the weekend? UCLA’s 1.16, almost twice as high.
It’s not fair.
Perhaps teams will hang closer to OU by not giving up on their starting pitching.
Rains trailed 5-0 in the fourth when she was lifted, but the roof fell in after Fritz entered the circle.
It was the same story Friday when Erna Carlin allowed six Sooner runs through 4 1/3, only for her relief, Ranci Willis, to allow five more while getting a single out.
Should opponents put the ball in play against OU enough, that could lead to something, for the Sooners’ .968 fielding percentage is not among the nation’s top 50.
Yet none of that may matter.
If you can’t get them out, you can’t beat them and nobody’s getting them out and nobody’s beating them.
Once upon a time, Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners won 47 straight.
Gasso’s have reached 37 with no end in sight.