🥎 OU rolls through HOF Classic
The top-ranked Sooners were back at Hall of Fame Stadium over the weekend for a 5-game slate that led to FIVE run-rule wins.
OKLAHOMA CITY — If you will allow me to take you under the hood for a minute, one of the drawbacks of writing about Oklahoma softball is not simply how dominant it is but the way in which it is dominant.
If you try to focus on one aspect of their greatness, you are forced to ignore countless other examples of what makes college softball’s top-ranked team so special.
Because, first, there’s Jocelyn Alo, who recorded her 100th career home run in a 20-0 run-rule win over Big Ten foe Iowa on Sunday.
Then there’s Jordy Bahl, the Sooners stud freshman pitcher who threw a no-hitter and struck out eight Hawkeyes in the process.
But hold on.
Lynnsie Elam, a team captain who’s struggled to keep her starting position because of OU’s overflowing wealth of talent, hit three home runs in the same game.
Three other Sooners — Alo, Alyssa Brito and Grace Lyons — also homered against the Hawkeyes. And all three, plus Elam's third and final bomb of the day, all came in the fourth frame to bury an opponent that was 16-9 entering the day.
But who did Gasso name-drop nearly first in her postgame news conference?
“I really liked Rylie Boone today,” Gasso said of her junior outfielder, who went 2-for-4 in the box and plated Brito in the bottom of the third. “She’s just a gamer. I felt her presence.”
So, as you can imagine, finding a place to start writing is difficult, because the Sooners offer a surplus of storylines that seem equally as interesting as the next.
It would be easier to write about OU losing a game, because the story would be just that.
Perhaps that storyline will present itself Tuesday when OU visits No. 8 Kentucky at 6 p.m. CT.
The Sooners lost just two regular-season games last season, and one of those defeats came against another Southeastern Conference club on the road.
OU fell to Georgia 7-6 in nine innings, ending the Sooners’ 33-game winning streak to start the season and 40-game winning streak that dated back to the year before that.
And Gasso couldn’t have been any happier.
“It was the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” Gasso said. “Anybody would tell you that. Once that happened, we kind of grew up real quick. We realized that we need to be better and we were.
“So, I'm looking forward to Tuesday.”
🥎 Weekend highlights
A few key notes from OU’s weekend at the Hall of Fame Classic:
Friday Game 1: Oklahoma 10, Sam Houston 1 (5 innings)
Alyssa Brito, an OU rookie who played at Oregon last season, hit two home runs. It’s the first time in her two-year career she’s homered twice in the same game.
Hope Trautwein, another first-year Sooner who starred at North Texas before transferring to Norman, struck out 12 and allowed one hit in the circle.
Friday Game 2: Oklahoma 15, Indiana 1 (5 innings)
Jocelyn Alo hit her 97th career home run.
Jordy Bahl struck out 10 but surrendered a home run to the Hoosiers. Indiana’s solo shot marked just the fourth homer OU had given up in 22 games to that point.
Saturday Game 1: Oklahoma 11, San Diego 0 (5 innings)
Taylon Snow hit her first career grand slam with Oklahoma.
Nicole May allowed four hits but struck out seven and didn’t allow any runs in her Saturday start.
Alo hit homer No. 98
Saturday Game 2: Oklahoma 8, Houston 0 (5 innings)
Trautwein struck out nine and didn’t allow any runs or hits in four innings worked.
Alo homered for the 99th time in her college career.
Sunday: Oklahoma 20, Iowa 0 (5 innings)
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💯 Alo makes history (again)
College softball’s all-time home runs record became Jocelyn Alo’s on March 12. A week later, her historic homer led to even more history.
BreakingT.com, which is an online t-shirt shop that specializes in commemorative apparel, launched two shirts for sale — one celebrating Alo’s accomplishment and another resembling a jersey with Alo’s number and name on it.
This isn’t the first time BreakingT.com has partnered with an OU student-athlete during the NIL era to produce a shirt that will directly benefit the player featured.
It is the first time, however, that an OU student-athlete — in any sport — has partnered with the university for a co-branded product.
What does that mean?
You may have noticed that just about any time a student-athlete sells merchandise with their name, image or likeness, it typically doesn’t include any logos of the school they play for.
This is a product of the NCAA’s NIL regulations, which do not allow student-athletes to use their university’s trademarks in their NIL deals without the school’s approval.
So, it’s a pretty big deal that OU chose Alo to be its first current player — IN ANY SPORT — to partner on officially licensed gear.
It’s not too surprising she was the choice, considering Alo is the face of the sport she plays and it’s truly hard to argue that she isn’t the most popular athlete on campus.
I asked Gasso about the deal Alo and OU struck. Her words:
“I'm in awe of watching these athletes make money, watching little kids wearing Jocelyn Alo's face all around the stadium. The fact that OU grabbed that opportunity and use Jocy is just an honor to this program. It's an honor to me. It's an honor to her, I'm sure. And just setting a precedent for just women athletes and women's programs at OU. It is something that I haven't seen anywhere else. And, again, just honored to be part of that.”
🗓 Up next
No. 1 Oklahoma (25-0) hits the road for a midweek clash with No. 8 Kentucky (19-2).
⏰ Time: 6 p.m. CT
📺 TV: SEC Network
📻 Radio: 1560 AM (in Oklahoma City)
A story for another day, I suppose.
OU football players DJ Graham and Marvin Mims each had struck NIL deals with the company to produce shirts after Graham’s incredible interception against Nebraska last season and Mims’ insane catch during last year’s Red River Showdown.
You go read that sentence again and tell me you didn’t fall out of your chair laughing from the irony of a rule set up to protect the university from being exploited by one of its students.