Why a midweek trip to Kentucky is just what the travel-weary Sooners need

Five weeks into the season, there’s one certainty about this OU softball team.

It hardly even matters which names coach Patty Gasso pencils into the lineup. These Sooners are just built to bludgeon their opponents.

“This team can do it all without any one of us,” said OU senior catcher Lynnsie Elam, who had a career-best three home runs and eight runs batted in Sunday in a 20-0 rout of Iowa.

Through 25 games, the undefeated Sooners have a remarkable run differential of +228 (250-22). Each of their past 10 games have ended early via run-rule — and all but four games this season have ended that way.

Check out the NCAA statistical leaderboards and you’ll see a bevy of Sooners.

OU leads Division I in both batting average (.391) and earned-run average (0.71).

OU utility player Taylon Snow is the top hitter in the country with a .542 average, and teammate Jocelyn Alo isn’t too far behind in fifth place (.525).

“That’s the beauty of this team is that they can all do big things for us,” Gasso said. “Win games at any time.”

Here are three more takeaways from the past week:

More: Get to know the 2022 Oklahoma Sooners softball team and schedule

No. 1 Oklahoma

Overall record: 25-0

Last week: 5-0 (beat Sam Houston 10-1, beat Indiana 15-1, beat San Diego 11-0, beat Houston 8-0, beat Iowa 20-0)

This week: at Kentucky (6 p.m. Tuesday), three-game home series vs. Baylor (6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday)

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Jocelyn Alo keeps it 100

It was a big weekend for college softball’s home run queen.

On Friday, OU unveiled its first co-branded product in the name, image and likeness era — with an Alo T-shirt.

On Sunday, she hit her 100th career home run against Iowa and commemorated the milestone by paying homage to NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain, posing for a photo while holding a sheet of paper with the number 100 on it.

Alo went 7-for-14 over the weekend at the Hall of Fame Classic in Oklahoma City with four home runs, seven runs batted in and eight runs scored.

“I guess 100 is pretty nice,” Alo said, “but just continuing to stay within the process and continue to go up from here.”

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Jordy Bahl brings fire to rotation

With how potent OU’s offense is, it can be easy to forget how stout the pitching staff has been this season.

North Texas transfer Hope Trautwein (7-0) leads the Big 12 with a 0.17 ERA through 40 ⅔ innings.

And then there’s freshman Jordy Bahl, the nation’s top recruit in the 2022 class who has lived up to the hype.

After another no-hit outing Sunday against Iowa, Bahl lowered her earned-run average to 0.72 through 58 ⅔ innings. She allowed one run, two walks, three hits with 18 strikeouts in 11 innings in two starts and one relief appearance over the weekend.

“What she’s done so far is fantastic,” Gasso said. “She’s a great competitor. You can watch her on the mound. You can hear her in the dugout. She lives what she says. She doesn’t say a lot, but she definitely leads by example.”

With Big 12 play starting this weekend, Bahl is expected to pitch deeper into games — but the Sooners are keeping games short and sweet.

“Everything,” Gasso said, “is going to be amped up from this moment on.”

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Business is picking up

Eleven months ago, the Sooners went to Georgia for a midweek doubleheader, bringing a 40-game winning streak and the pursuit of an NCAA record along for the ride.

The Bulldogs upset the Sooners in the opener last April 20, stopping OU’s streak seven wins shy of tying Arizona’s record of 47 (set in 1997).

“The Georgia series last year was our first loss and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” Gasso said on Sunday. “Once it happened, we kind of grew up real quick. We realized we needed to be better and we were.”

Fast forward a year later and the Sooners have another midweek road trip against an SEC foe, this time against 11th-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.

For a team that is coming off five games in three days and a trip to Hawaii the week before that, it’s a challenge that comes at the perfect time.

The Wildcats are tied with Georgia for the third-best batting average in the country (.361).

“This game was planned strategically to press us,” Gasso said. “We’ve had a long weekend. … We get to play one of the top teams in the country at their place. We need that. It’s good for us. It’s good to see what kind of character we have. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

Contact Oklahoman sports editor Jeff Patterson at (405) 475-3654 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @jeffpattOKC

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU softball: Jocelyn Alo hits 100th home run, Jordy Bahl is fantastic