OU softball downs Prairie View A&M to win regional opener
Oklahoma moves on to the winner's bracket, where it will face Texas A&M for a regional final berth on Saturday.
NORMAN, Okla. — Jocelyn Alo admits she couldn’t control her tears as she watched freshman Turiya Coleman blast her first career home run and give Oklahoma its final three runs of the evening.
“It was definitely the highlight of my night,” said Alo, who hit a home run, herself, and whose Sooners cruised to a 14-0 win in five innings over Prairie View A&M on Friday.
The victory advances OU to Saturday’s winner’s bracket game against Texas A&M at 1 p.m. for a spot in the regional final. But it also provided OU fans a glimpse into the future.
Coleman, Hannah Coor and Sophia Nugent, all of whom are OU freshman, saw action in their first postseason contest. Coor was walked and Nugent singled in their lone at-bats. The two were then plated by Coleman’s three-run homer.
“The future of the Sooner softball program is in really good hands,” Alo said. “I know that they're gonna continue to follow in the super seniors' footsteps and so on and so forth. It was really good to see them do their thing.”
The freshman landed their rare playing time with OU holding nothing back in its first game since dropping the Big 12 tournament championship final last Saturday. The Sooners were aggressive running the bases from the start and their first two of three fourth-inning home runs pushed them well into run-rule territory.
Prairie View A&M allowed a first-inning home run from Tiare Jennings and kept within two scores of the No. 1-ranked team in the country through two frames. The Sooners broke the game open with four runs in the third inning and eight in the fourth.
Both Alo and Grace Lyons launched home runs in the fourth inning before Coleman sent the OU dugout into a frenzy.
Sophomore RHP Nicole May (13-0) earned the Day 1 start and combined with Hope Trautwein for a no-hitter. May struck out seven, walked one and didn't allow any hits from the Panthers in four innings worked.
“I was really happy with what this team did tonight,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “Kind of set a new standard for ourselves. Every part of the game was working — pitching, defense, offense. Got to get in some freshmen, give some people some opportunities. So, all around, just a very clean [effort]. Very proud of this group.”
Play of the game
OU third basemen Jana Johns made an incredible throw to first after the ball ricocheted off her pitcher, Nicole May, and retired the side in the top of the second.
Prairie View A&M’s Taliya Talley, who graduated from Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma, couldn’t beat the throw, which was confirmed via instant replay prompted by a coach’s challenge.
Tiare Jennings’ first-inning run marked her 23rd of the season and 50th of her career. She is tied with Keilani Ricketts for the seventh-most career home runs in program history. OU and college softball’s home runs leader Jocelyn Alo hit her 114th career homer on Friday.
Texas A&M beat Minnesota 5-1 in the first game of Friday’s Norman regional doubleheader. The Gophers loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh but couldn’t get any runs across. Minnesota will need to win twice tomorrow to advance to Sunday’s regional final.
Oklahoma introduced more officially licensed gear to its merchandise tents at Marita Hynes Fields. The latest additions, which directly benefit the athletes courtesy name, image and likeness, include replica jersey t-shirts for Jocelyn Alo, Jayda Coleman, Jordy Bahl and Tiare Jennings.
OU softball broke multiple records on Friday. May and Trautwein's combined no-hitter marks the Sooners' seventh of the season, which is a program best. OU's 36 run-rule wins are also a program record. OU has also reached 50 wins in a single season for the 15th time in school history.
Regional results and schedule
Friday, May 20 (all times in CT)
Game 1: Texas A&M 5, Minnesota 1
Game 2: Oklahoma 14, Prairie View A&M 0
Saturday, May 21
Game 3: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M (TV TBD, ESPN Networks), 1 p.m.
Game 4: Minnesota vs. Prairie View A&M (TV TBD, ESPN Networks), 3:30 PM
Game 5: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser (TV TBD, ESPN Networks), 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 22
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner (TV TBD, ESPN Networks), 1 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (TV TBD, ESPN Networks), 3:30 p.m.