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Bedlam softball: Oklahoma completes improbable feat of back-to-back undefeated Big 12 seasons

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Teammates greet Jocelyn Alo after her home run in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on  May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla.  [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]
Teammates greet Jocelyn Alo after her home run in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]

STILLWATER — The Sooners have caught on to Patty Gasso’s motivational tactics.

They’re rather simple. Gasso casts doubt on her team reaching milestones that shouldn’t be attainable, and the Sooners respond by continuously updating the record book.

“That’s just a team thing,” sophomore Jocelyn Alo said, “wanting to prove her wrong.”

The Sooners (46-2) proved their coach wrong Sunday afternoon in Stillwater. They swept the Cowgirls in a doubleheader to finish 18-0 in the Big 12 for the second consecutive season.

“It’s pretty impossible for any team with the tough conference we have to go undefeated,” Gasso told her team before the Big 12 slate began.

Fast forward to Sunday, and all Gasso could do was smile and shake her head.

Shannon Saile and Mariah Lopez pitched complete games for the Sooners as teammate Giselle Juarez had done the night before. Saile and Lopez combined to allow just two runs on five hits while striking out 18.

Alo, Sydney Romero and Grace Green each sent balls over the wall at Cowgirl Stadium to propel OU’s offense.

“It’s a different kind of team. I don’t know,” Gasso said, searching for the right words. “They feel their style is invincible.”

The No. 1-ranked Sooners have been invincible since late February. Oklahoma’s winning streak is up to 38 games — the second-longest ever recorded in Division-I softball. OU hasn’t lost a conference game since 2017.

Gasso heard about all of those records and statistics when her seniors were honored Saturday night, but not until then had she truly processed what the numbers have added up to.

“Who else has done that? Who else can do that? Way back in the day, when there wasn’t as much (parity) as there is now, maybe that stuff was happening,” Gasso said. “But to do it in today’s world is very difficult. They’ve set a standard that Sooners are gonna have to live by forever.”

Oklahoma outscored No. 13 Oklahoma State 16-2 in the three-game sweep. It was a Bedlam series that set record attendance numbers in both Norman and Stillwater, but only one of the three games was close.

After an emotional Saturday Senior Night win in Norman, the Sooners boarded their bus at 8 a.m. Sunday to make the 90-mile drive north. With an eighth consecutive Big 12 title already secured, Gasso admitted feeling concerned before Sunday’s doubleheader.

“Because really what are we playing for?” Gasso said. “And I come to find out that really what they’re playing for is an undefeated record again.”

She must have forgotten what motivates them.

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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