Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Softball: Sooners Become Consensus No. 1 Team

For the first time in program history, the University of Oklahoma softball teams is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation.

The Sooners, 22-1 on the season, earned all 31 first-place votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll and 18 of 20 votes from the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Poll, both of which were released Tuesday.

The team has now been atop the USA Softball poll for five consecutive weeks after entering the season with just two appearances as the No. 1 team in either poll. It’s the second time the Sooners have been No. 1 in the NFCA poll, first earning the mark after winning the 2000 national championship.

Oklahoma opened the season on a 17-0 run, the second-best start in school history and the fifth-longest winning streak overall in program annals.

The Sooners have faced one of the most challenging schedules in the country, as well. Their nine games against ranked teams is third in the country, but OU leads the nation with eight wins against top-25 teams and a .889 winning percentage in such games.

Statistically, Oklahoma also leads the nation in four individual categories and one team mark.

Senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne leads Division I with a 0.70 earned run average, while sophomore Lauren Chamberlain ranks No. 1 with 13 home runs, 1.65 runs scored per game and a 1.242 slugging percentage.

As a staff, Oklahoma pitchers have posted a country-leading 0.80 ERA. The next closest team is Baylor at 1.04.

Oklahoma’s season continues this weekend at the Judi Garmin Classic in Fullerton, Calif., against Pacific, North Carolina State, No. 14/19 Arizona, Penn State and Cal State Fullerton.

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