OU Softball: Familiar Faces Await Oklahoma as the Sooners Clash With Oregon in Crucial Regional Contest

Oregon coach Melyssa Lombardi will take on the 2-seeded Sooners as the Ducks' head coach for the first time on Saturday after spending 23 years as a player and assistant coach in Norman.

NORMAN — On Selection Sunday, Patty Gasso knew it was a possibility. 

But now it’s here. 

The 2-seeded Sooners beat Cleveland State 9-0 in six innings on Friday after Oregon waltzed by Boston University 8-0 in five innings to set up a matchup between Gasso and her former assistant, Melyssa Lombardi

Lombardi followed her playing career in Norman with a 21-year stint as Gasso’s assistant coach, winning four national titles along the way before taking the helm of Oregon’s program. 

More familiar faces populate the Ducks’ dugout, as former OU star Sydney Romero and former Sooners analyst Sam Marder serve as assistants on Lombardi’s staff. 

Gasso admitted that her and Lombardi have avoided scheduling each other during the regular season, but the duo will take the field against each other for the first time on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Love’s Field. 

How to Watch Oklahoma vs. Oregon

When: 2 p.m.
Where: Love's Field
Channel: ESPN/ESPN+

“(It’ll be) weird, but fun,” Gasso said on Friday. “I was able to take her, Syd, her staff around here. And that was really, really cool. It made me feel something that is going to allow me to be on the field and not get caught up in emotion or anything. It was just like we did this together. It was good.”

The Sooners are no strangers to seeing notable alumni in the opposing dugout. 

Earlier this year, OU’s seniors took on a former teammate in Houston pitching coach Hope Trautwein. 

Romero was a graduate assistant in Norman in both 2021 and 2022 as she helped the Sooners add another pair of national titles to their trophy case. 

“I think it's really awesome,” OU outfielder Jayda Coleman said, “just to continuously see the sport grown and see people like Syd Romero where they've coaching Oregon and Oregon is having a really good season.

“… I might really be overthinking a little bit because she's always coaching me up and that kind of thing. She knows what kind of pitches I like and what I don't like but I think it's really cool to see just like how we saw Hope and now we get to see Syd. It's a good little reunion.”

Once the first pitch is tossed, all those outside feelings will wash away. 

Though the Sooners haven’t seen any Ducks before, Oregon is familiar with OU ace Kelly Maxwell who could be in line to start in the circle. 

Oklahoma State hosted Oregon in last year’s Stillwater Super Regional, where Maxwell mowed through the Ducks’ lineup. 

“It’s helpful,” Maxwell said on Wednesday. “You can have a little confidence knowing I know what they look like. Now a lot of teams are quite different but some of them definitely are returners so I do think that gives you a little big of the upper hand going in.”

Oregon threw redshirt sophomore pitcher Elise Sokolsky on Friday against Boston University, who has been Lombardi’s best pitcher despite working back from a season-ending injury in 2023. 

Right-hander Morgan Scott could be Lombardi’s choice to start against the Sooners, as she’s thrown the most for Oregon throughout the year. 

Scott enters the NCAA Tournament with a 3.45 ERA, and she’s holding opponents to a .280 batting average. 

A win on Saturday would be crucial for both teams. 

The winner between the Sooners and the Ducks will move to Sunday’s Regional Final, where they’ll have to win just one of two contests to avoid elimination advance to next weekend’s Super Regionals. 

“I’m excited to be back,” Lombardi said on Friday. “I love the stadium that was built here. It is so deserved. So to come here and have an opportunity to practice at Marita Hynes (Field) but then to get here and to get to play here in Oklahoma where I started my career and also my coaching career, it’s a blessing. 

“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

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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.