OU Softball: Oklahoma's Pitching Gives 2-seeded Sooners the Edge in Regional Final Rematch

Patty Gasso's 2-seeded Sooners will meet Oregon again for a place in next weekend's Super Regionals after dispatching of the Ducks 6-3 on Saturday.

NORMAN — Offense has been to hard to come by against Oklahoma’s starting pitching. 

Nicole May and Kelly Maxwell have dominated their respective starts in Norman Regional action at Love’s Field. 

May struck out nine against Cleveland State in five innings on Friday, and Maxwell rallied from allowing a first inning home run to completely shut down Oregon on Saturday. 

The OU left-hander retired the last 16 batters she faced, striking out eight and allowing only one baserunner after going down 1-0.

Supported by strong offensive showings, Patty Gasso’s pitching staff has her 2-seeded Sooners one win away from reaching a Super Regional for the 14th-straight tournament. 

Oklahoma will take on Oregon again, who has to beat the hosts twice on Sunday to stun the softball world and dash OU’s hopes of winning a fourth-straight national title. 

Sophomore left-hander Kierston Deal has yet to appear for the Sooners this weekend, meaning Sunday’s 2 p.m. battle with the Ducks could the the perfect time to make her 2024 NCAA Tournament debut. 

Deal is tied with May for second on the team in appearances this year (21), but leads the Sooners with a 1.62 ERA. 

How to Watch Oklahoma vs. Oregon

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

She’s holding opponents to a .162 batting average, and has struck out 64 batters while surrendering 12 walks in 69 innings of action. 

Last year, Deal pitched four total innings in four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. She allowed no hits, firing four strikeouts and allowing one walk. 

Deal pitched two of her innings in regional action, 1 2/3 innings against Clemson in the Norman Super Regional, and she recorded one out against Tennessee in the Women’s College World Series. 

A key to Maxwell’s excellent outing on Saturday was shutting down Oregon’s leadoff hitter, Kai Luschar

The left fielder went 0-for-3 against Maxwell with a strikeout as OU brought Jayda Coleman into the infield to ensure no choppers made it into the outfield. 

“She is the party starter there and it is important for us to keep her off the basepaths,” Gasso said on Saturday. “First pitch, she's going to steal. She leads the Pac 12 in stolen bases and I think their team does as well. So it was really important for us to plug up those holds and see what we could do with that.”

If Deal gets the call, she’ll have plenty of support from her offense. 

The Sooners got a peek at four different Oregon pitchers on Saturday, including Morgan Scott and Elise Sokolsky

And should the Ducks pull the upset at 2 p.m., OU will have another chance at 4:30 p.m. to continue its march back to Oklahoma City. 

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.