Patty Gasso is confident about where her pitching staff is at.
And why wouldn't she be?
In last weekend’s Super Regionals, the top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners dispatched of the 16-seeded Washington Huskies in two games, with pitchers Nicole May and Shannon Saile combining to concede only one walk and one hit batter for the entire weekend.
As a result, OU gave up just three runs and cruised past the Huskies.
The Oklahoma head coach believes she’s getting the best out of her pitching staff at the perfect time.
“I truly can tell you I feel extremely confident about this pitching staff right now,” Gasso said at her pre-Women’s College World Series Zoom press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "Have I been able to say that about certain times during the season? Not all the time. So this is exciting for us.”
Even Giselle Juarez, who didn’t pitch an inning during Super Regional play, has been locked in this past week.
“Giselle has been in the bullpen waiting, but anytime we have her out at practice, she’s ready to go. She’s looked the best this season,” Gasso said. “I just think her look looked completely different to me. It’s confident, it’s focused, it’s energized, and her pitch production and her pitch location and the way her ball is moving is much crisper and sharper than it ever has been this season.”
OU will need every pitcher firing on all cylinders, as the Sooners face one of the more explosive offenses in the country in James Madison right out of the gate.
The Dukes boast the third-highest scoring offense in the country, plating 7.17 runs per game, as well as hitting the seventh-most home runs per game (1.61), while entering the Women’s College World Series with the 19th-best team batting average (.317).
Should they meet the Oklahoma State Cowgirls for the fifth time this season on their half of the draw, OSU has the exact same home runs per game, a team batting average that’s a single point better than the Dukes, while entering the week with the 20th highest-scoring offense with 6.14 runs per game.
Oklahoma’s pitching can ensure they don’t have to outslug their opponents this weekend, instead providing plenty of run support for their own staff and putting all the pressure on their opponents.
“(May, Saile and Juarez) are kind of getting hot at the right time and we need it,” Gasso said.
“I think the three of them are really going to be a great tag team throughout the tournament.”