Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso’s team has been dominating college softball for the past decade, winning 48 straight games and setting an NCAA record. The Sooners have the best pitching staff, the best everyday lineup, and the best defense in the country, making them the overwhelming favorite to win a third straight national championship. However, Baylor coach Glenn Moore believes that preparation and mental approach are key to toppling the reigning dynasty in softball. He stresses the importance of playing to their standard, respecting the competition, and taking any advantage they can.
Moore also believes that throwing off the batters’ timing at the plate is crucial in limiting Oklahoma’s offense. The Sooners rank first in batting average, scoring, home runs per game, and slugging percentage. However, during their loss to Baylor, they had no home runs and left nine runners on base. Moore suggests making OU’s pitchers work and finding Kierston Deal, the former No. 1 recruit with a 0.78 ERA, to get into the bullpen.
The WCWS field is filled with dominant pitchers Oklahoma has yet to face this year, like Stanford’s Freshman of the Year NiJaree Canady and her league-leading 0.48 ERA, Alabama ace Montana Fouts, or Tennessee’s trio of Ashley Rogers, Payton Gottshall, and Karlyn Pickens. Moore believes that the change of speed and out-guessing their timing is key in beating Oklahoma’s lineup. On the flip side, Oklahoma’s .988 fielding percentage leads the country and is currently on pace to set the single-season record.
Despite being the underdog, Moore is comfortable celebrating one win out of four chances this season against Oklahoma. Beating Oklahoma is that big a deal, and Stanford coach Jessica Allister knows that they have their work cut out for them when they face the Sooners on Thursday.
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