OU Softball: Oklahoma Wary of 'Capable' Houston Test

The No. 2-ranked Sooners will reunite with plenty of familiar faces when they host Houston at Love's Field this weekend.

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s return to Big 12 play will resemble a family reunion.

Fresh off an efficient midweek display against Tulsa, the Sooners return to Love’s Field to host the Houston Cougars. 

Coached by former OU All-American Kristin Vesely, the Cougars have plenty of ties back to Norman. 

Hope Trautwein, who starred for the Sooners in 2022 after transferring from North Texas, serves as Houston’s pitching coach, and the potent offense features former Oklahoma transfer Turiya Coleman

Houston (23-20, 3-15 Big 12) upset Texas earlier this year thanks to a big offensive display. 

The Cougars rank sixth in the conference in both batting average (.311) and home runs (40), but struggle in the circle. 

Houston ranks last in staff ERA (5.87), and has given up 59 home runs this year — 19 more long balls than the next closest Big 12 team. 

How to Watch Oklahoma vs. Houston:

Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Game 2: Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Game 3: Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN+

Still, Patty Gasso is looking forward to hosting the Big 12 newcomers — especially as she looks into the opposing dugout. 

“There’s pride from my side to see any of those guys go into coaching,” Gasso said Tuesday. “So I’m excited about that. Houston has an offense. They can swing. 

“… They’ve had a little bit of injury in their pitching department, so that’s where a little bit of their struggle is right now.”

Regardless of who Oklahoma faces in the circle, the No. 2-ranked Sooners will need high levels of focus. 

Leaving runners on base plagued OU in its series loss to Texas and last weekend’s series victory over BYU, where Gasso’s team stranded double-digit baserunners in each of the final two games.

Oklahoma’s offense was much more efficient against Tulsa, stranding just four in the six inning run-rule victory.

Gasso credited her team with better levels of focus and a better approach across the board, something she hopes will carry into the weekend. 

“I felt a difference from our team,” she said. “I think we would all tell you that. It's a little more of the words invested in everybody's at bats, you know, a little more focused, whatever it is. 

“We're just more hungry, very attentive. We're paying attention to the games. Instead of worrying so much about our own processes or outcomes or what have you.”

The Sooners currently hold a one-game lead over the Longhorns and a two-game advantage over Oklahoma State with three weekends left in Big 12 play, leaving little room for error with Bedlam on the horizon in two weekends. 

Friday’s series opener against Houston will get underway at 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

“They’re capable, like any team in the Big 12,” Gasso said. “We’re all learning that anyone can beat anybody at any time.”

Ryan Chapman


Ryan is deputy editor at AllSooners and covers a number of sports in and around Norman and Oklahoma City. Working both as a journalist and a sports talk radio host, Ryan has covered the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, the Oklahoma City Energy and more. Since 2019, Ryan has simultaneously pursued a career as both a writer and a sports talk radio host, working for the Flagship for Oklahoma sports, 107.7 The Franchise, as well as AllSooners.com. Ryan serves as a contributor to The Franchise’s website, TheFranchiseOK.com, which was recognized as having the “Best Website” in 2022 by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Ryan holds an associate’s degree in Journalism from Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, OK.