What’s left to say about the Oklahoma Sooners? How else to put in perspective a softball machine that just clinched a third consecutive national championship... just won a 53rd game in a row... just finished a three-year reign of terror with a record of 176-8?
When it was over Thursday night in Oklahoma City, 3-1 to finish off Florida State, the Sooners led the nation in scoring with 501 runs, or 82 more than anybody else. They led the nation in pitching. And defense. And batting average, 30 points higher than second place. Jordy Bahl scored two runs in the Women's College World Series. She pitched 24.2 innings and gave up none. How many pitchers outscore the opponents by themselves?
How else to honor a dynasty that always wins like that? Maybe by remembering the rare times that Oklahoma lost.
As the Sooners went leaping into their latest championship dogpile Thursday night, it had been 109 days since they were beaten in a softball game.
That was 4-3 at Baylor in February, when the Bears took an early 4-1 lead and then needed 136 total pitches in seven innings to hold back Oklahoma. “What’s valuable is the response, the rebound and the extra work that is going to be put in to make us better,” Sooners coach Patty Gasso said that day.
Oklahoma is 53-0 since. That includes 29 shutouts and a three-game sweep at Baylor in April by a combined score of 13-0, holding the Bears to 10 hits in 21 innings, all singles. So there.
It had been 367 days since the Sooners lost a game in the Women's College World Series.
That was 7-3 to UCLA in 2022, forcing Oklahoma into elimination mode. “Nobody beats the Sooners twice,” All-American Jocelyn Alo said that day, and she wasn’t kidding. She hit two homers with seven RBI to lead Oklahoma to a 15-0 battering of the Bruins in five innings to advance to the championship series.
It had been 732 days since the Sooners lost a game in the championship series.
That was 8-4 to Florida State in the 2021 opener, putting the Seminoles on the brink of the title and threatening to end this Oklahoma threepeat before it even began. “Whenever we lose, we don’t lose again,” Sooners outfielder Nicole Mendes said after the defeat. “I think we’re ready.”
Especially pitcher Giselle Juarez, who threw 218 pitches and two complete games within about 20 hours to carry Oklahoma past Florida State 6-2 and 5-1.
It had been 1,467 days since the Sooners were last shut out.
That was a 1-0 loss in eight innings to Alabama in the 2019 College World Series. They have scored in all 211 games since. In those same 211 games, their pitchers have thrown 92 shutouts.
It had been 1,465 days since someone other than Oklahoma could claim to be national champions. That was 2019, when UCLA scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Sooners 5-4 and secure the title. The night before, the Bruins had crushed them 16-3 in the championship series opener, so the fight that Oklahoma put up in the second game was important to its coach, and maybe a harbinger for the future.
“What we did today, I’ll never forget,” Gasso said then.
Turns out, the Sooner juggernaut was just getting started.
And now look. Eight losses in the past three years, four of them by one run, two others by two. Know one of the rare teams to beat them? Would you believe James Madison? It is in fact — 4-3 in eight innings in the 2021 WCWSs.
But there have been so few, especially when it’s counted. Wednesday night made it five Oklahoma national championships in the past seven tournaments and six in the past 10. Of the 11 championship series since 2012, only three did not include the Sooners. Gasso now has seven titles, one away from Mike Candrea’s all-time record of eight at Arizona.
And this must not be overlooked: They themselves know how many days it has been since they lost a game, or a championship. They understand what it means to play softball at Oklahoma. Title or bust. Absolutely no margin for error, or heaven forbid, many defeats. The only thing more powerful than their dominance Thursday night was their relief.
“We stick together,” Bahl said in her ESPN interview, with the deed done. “It’s not just one person that feels it, we all feel it.”
Or as Gasso said. “Right now, what you feel from us is freedom.”
It has been success so unending, so relentless, that the defeats look like rowboats on an ocean. And upon that ocean, the Oklahoma Sooners sail on.