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D1Softball Staff | January 13, 2023

The top 50 programs in college softball, ranked by D1 Softball

Oklahoma hits WCWS-record six home runs in Game 1 of 2022 finals

(Editor's note: The following rankings were published in fall 2022 by D1 Softball. The original articles include detailed capsules for all 50 teams. Oklahoma was also the No. 1 team in 2020's rankings. You can subscribe to D1 softball here.)

For the purpose of ranking the Top 50 programs, we don’t care what happened in the 1970s or 80s — or even the 90s. That’s ancient history to a potential recruit in 2023. Tradition is nice, but it’s more important to establish a tradition of consistent winning in the past decade, and especially in the last five years. Our ultimate goal here is to identify the programs in the best shape right now, with an eye toward the next five to 10 years.

So we began by awarding programs points for making regionals and having postseason success in the last five years, and a fewer amount of points for success between six and 10 years ago. That gave us a starting point; then national writers Tara Henry and Brady Vernon made adjustments based on evaluations of coaching staff quality and stability, facilities, scholarship/financial aid situation, conference dynamics, momentum and recruiting and player development proficiency.

  • No. 50 UMBC
  • No. 49 San Diego State
  • No. 48 Ohio State
  • No. 47 Saint Francis
  • No. 46 Nebraska
  • No. 45 Liberty
  • No. 44 Texas State
  • No. 43 Wichita State
  • No. 42 McNeese
  • No. 41 Cal State Fullerton
  • No. 40 California
  • No. 39 Fordham
  • No. 38 Boston University
  • No. 37 Wisconsin
  • No. 36 BYU
  • No. 35 South Florida
  • No. 34 Oregon State
  • No. 33 Stanford
  • No. 32 UCF
  • No. 31 Duke
  • No. 30 Clemson
  • No. 29 Ole Miss
  • No. 28 Notre Dame
  • No. 27 Virginia Tech
  • No. 26 Mississippi State
  • No. 25 JMU
  • No. 24 Baylor
  • No. 23 Minnesota
  • No. 22 Arkansas
  • No. 21 Northwestern
  • No. 20 Missouri
  • No. 19 Louisiana
  • No. 18 Auburn
  • No. 17 Texas A&M
  • No. 16 Oklahoma State
  • No. 15 Michigan
  • No. 14 ASU
  • No. 13 Oregon
  • No. 12 Kentucky
  • No. 11 LSU
  • No. 10 Texas
  • No. 9 Tennessee
  • No. 8 Georgia
  • No. 7 Washington
  • No. 6 Arizona
  • No. 5 Alabama
  • No. 4 Florida State
  • No. 3 UCLA
  • No. 2 Florida
  • No. 1 Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Location: Norman, Okla.

Conference: Big 12

Field: OU Softball Complex

Head Coach: Patty Gasso 1,395-344-2 (28 Seasons)

Postseason Appearances: 28

Last Decade: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022

WCWS Appearances: 15

WCWS Titles: 6

All-Americans: 75

With five national titles in the past decade, it’s no surprise the Sooners repeat as No. 1.

In the past decade, Oklahoma dominated conference play, compiled numerous individual and team accolades, and won back-to-back national titles on two separate occasions. Not to mention, Lauren Chamberlain and Jocelyn Alo broke the NCAA career home run record in that span.

Alo’s home run chase was the highlight of the 2022 season, which saw her crowned home run queen in her home state of Hawaii in front of her family and friends.

Each season, head coach Patty Gasso leads her squad back to Oklahoma City. The success she’s achieved hasn’t gone unnoticed. The OU Board of Regents approved a salary increase to total $1.625 million a year. The school is also investing plenty of capital in facilities, highlighted by the impending construction of Love’s Field, with a budget of $42 million.

2022 WCWS Champions

The Sooners took on unseeded arch rival Texas for the title. The Longhorns put up a fight, but the relentless Sooners offense captured the sixth title in program history. In a sign of program dominance, much of the conversation during the season wasn’t about whether the Sooners would win but if they would go undefeated or cement a place as the greatest team of all time.

2021 WCWS Champions

Oklahoma defeated Florida State in front of 10,830 fans in the winner-take-all finale. Giselle Juarez delivered in the circle, tossing two complete games in the championship series. Juarez threw 31.1 innings in the WCWS, surrendering just four runs throughout the tournament. The offense set NCAA Division I single-season records for most home runs (161) and runs scored (638).

2017 WCWS Champions

The Sooners became one of four programs to win back-to-back NCAA titles (Florida, UCLA, Arizona), sweeping No. 1 Florida. In an epic championship series opener, Shay Knighten broke the stalemate in the top of the 17th inning by blasting a three-run home run to left field. In game two, four hurlers took the mound for the Sooners: Paige Parker, Mariah Lopez, Nicole Mendes and Paige Lowary. Knighten came up clutch yet again, with a bases-clearing double to give OU its fourth national title.

2016 WCWS Champions

Sydney Romero’s three-run home run gave the Sooners a quick lead in the best-of-three championship series against Auburn. In a winner-take-all showdown after Auburn leveled the series, Paige Parker was brilliant in the circle in the third game, throwing a complete game and allowing just one run.

2013 WCWS Champions

In game one of the championship series against Tennessee, the Sooners rallied from a 3-0 deficit with two outs in the bottom of the 11th. Chamberlain then blasted a two-run walk-off home run in the 12th to defeat the Volunteers 5-3. In the second game, Michelle Gascoigne pitched a three-hit shutout to lead the Sooners to their second national title.

Players to note

Photo by Ethan Mito/NCAA Photos via Getty Images Oklahoma's Jordy Ball pitches in the 2022 WCWS.Oklahoma's Jordy Ball pitches in the 2022 WCWS.

Jordy Bahl (2022-present): Freshman phenom went 22-1 with a 1.09 ERA and 205 strikeouts. Bahl was named Freshman of the Year and Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.

Jocelyn Alo (2018-2022): Twice the USA Softball Player of the Year, a Honda Cup winner, career home run record holder, and the first player in history to hit 30 home runs and bat .500 in the same season.

Keilani Ricketts (2010-2013): Twice the USA Softball Player of the Year (2012, 2013), and the first student-athlete in Oklahoma history to be named Honda Cup winner. Ricketts became the third softball player to take home the latter honor and was a four-time All-American.

Lauren Chamberlain (2012-2015): Four-time All-American, Big 12 Freshman of the Year and set NCAA all-time home run record with a grand slam at North Texas to finish her career with 95. She set another NCAA record for slugging percentage (.900).

Paige Parker (2015-2018): Four-time All-American, 2015 Freshman of the Year, WCWS Most Outstanding Player, 2018 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. She finished her career with 123 wins, 968 strikeouts, 37 shutouts. Compiled 38 wins her sophomore campaign, 32 of those complete games.

Shay Knighten (2016-2019): Most Outstanding Player at 2017 WCWS, two-time All-American, 2016 Big 12 Freshman of the Year. She had a .360 career average, 36 doubles and 42 home runs.

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Division I
Softball Championship
June 1-9, 2023
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium | Oklahoma City, OK

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