Oklahoma Softball captured its third consecutive national championship on Thursday night with a 3-1 win over Florida State, and in doing so, won its 53rd consecutive game.
With the success that Patty Gasso has brought to Norman, stats like that seem little more than cannon fodder. In other words, Oklahoma’s been so great that they’ve normalized winning at an impossible level.
In sports, losing is a vital part of the equation. When a team loses, it learns more about itself and then, in turn, improves so that loss might not happen again. For this year’s version of the Oklahoma Sooners, it took just one loss back on February 19 to set things straight. Now, with a championship in hand, they’ve gone unbeaten for 110 days.
The stretch that we just saw from OU was historic, and it cemented this team’s legacy forever at the top of the softball world. However, the 2023 Sooners have an argument for more than that. They can throw their name in the discussion for best sports team of all time.
Oklahoma went 61-1 in 2023, its lone loss being a 4-3 contest to Baylor back on February 19. Of their 61 wins, 28 came against ranked opponents. The Sooners played the third-toughest schedule in softball this season and were 39-1 against opponents who made it into the NCAA Softball Tournament.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): 61-1 (.984)
Oklahoma Softball (2022): 59-3 (.952)
Arizona Softball (1994): 64-3 (.955)
Miami Dolphins (1972): 17-0 (1.000)
New York Yankees (1927): 110-44-1 (.709)
Nebraska Football (1995): 12-0 (1.000)
Chicago Bulls (1995-96): 72-10 (.878)
Average Margin of Victory
Oklahoma didn’t just beat opponents in 2023, it embarrassed them. Oklahoma scored 501 runs in 2023, making it the first team in D-I softball history to score over 500 runs in three straight seasons. In turn, they gave up just 59 runs, making their average margin of victory 8.08 to 0.95, which stacks up to just short of a run rule.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): 8.1-0.95 (501-59)
Oklahoma Softball (2022): 9.3-1.1 (579-65)
Arizona Softball (1994): 7.7-1.5 (518-101)
Miami Dolphins (1972): 27.5-12.2 (385-171)
New York Yankees (1927): 6.3-3.9 (975-599)
Nebraska Football (1995): 53.2-14.5 (638-174)
Chicago Bulls (1995-96): 105.2-92.9 (8,625-7,621)
Team Batting Average
Oklahoma’s team batting average in 2023 was .366, ranking first in the nation and among the highest-ever in D-I softball history. With five batters over the .400 mark, there just wasn’t a break when pitching to the Sooners. Tiare Jennings (.415), Alyssa Brito (.412), Kinzie Hansen (.409), Jayda Coleman (.408), and Jordy Bahl (.406) all return in 2024 as well.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): .366
Oklahoma Softball (2022): .371
Arizona Softball (1994): .380
New York Yankees (1927): .307
The Oklahoma Sooners topped the charts nationally in slugging too, with a .666 team average. Their on-base plus slugging (OPS) was an incredible 1.122 as a team, showing just how powerfully and consistently this team batted in 2023.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): .666
Oklahoma Softball (2022): .734
Arizona Softball (1994): .602
New York Yankees (1927): .488
The Sooners’ pitching staff was really the backbone of their championship run in 2023, posting a total ERA of 0.96, which ranks first in the country and, again, among the best ever in the sport. Jordy Bahl (0.90), Nicole May (0.92) and Alex Storako (1.15) all ranked inside the top 10 nationally in individual ERA.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): 0.96
Oklahoma Softball (2022): 1.05
Arizona Softball (1994): 1.23
New York Yankees (1927): 3.20
Team Fielding Percentage
Oklahoma’s defense was special in 2023 as well, with a fielding percentage of .987, which ranked first nationally. The Sooners committed just 19 errors all season, which was the lowest among all teams nationally.
Oklahoma Softball (2023): .987 (19 Errors)
Oklahoma Softball (2022): .977 (33 Errors)
Arizona Softball (1994): .968 (61 Errors)
New York Yankees (1927): .969 (196 Errors)
Oklahoma won several awards in 2023, including Big 12 player, defensive player, and coach of the year, the Big 12 regular season title, Big 12 tournament title, an NCAA Regional, Super Regional, and WCWS Championship Title. Oklahoma also had five first-team All-American selections: Tiare Jennings, Alyssa Brito, Kinzie Hansen, Jayda Coleman, and Jordy Bahl
Given that every sport is a bit different in awards, we just compared the Sooners to Arizona’s 1994 squad in this category.
Oklahoma Softball (2023)
- National Championship
- Big 12 Championship
- Big 12 Player of the Year (Jayda Coleman)
- Big 12 Coach of the Year (Patty Gasso)
- Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (Grace Lyons)
- 8x All-Big 12 Player Selections
- NCAA Regional Champs
- NCAA Super Regional Champs
- Golden Glove Award Winner (Grace Lyons)
- 5X NFCA First-Team All-Americans
Arizona Softball (1994)
- National Championship
- Pac-10 Championship
- 8x All-Pac-10 Player Selections
- National Player of the Year (Suzie Parra)
- NCAA Regional Champions
Oklahoma’s Season By the Numbers
Perhaps the best way to encapsulate how good Oklahoma was is by simply putting all the numbers out there for all to see.
- 61-1 Record
- .984 Win % (No. 1)
- 53-Game Winning Streak (NCAA D-I Record)
- 17-0 vs. RPI Top 10
- 10-0 vs. RPI Top 5
- .366 Batting Avg. (No. 1)
- 117 Home runs (No. 1)
- 8.08 Runs Per Game (No. 1)
- 0.96 ERA (No. 1)
- .666 Slugging % (No. 1)
- 35 Shutouts (No. 1)
- .456 On-Base % (No. 1)
- 460 Ks in 389.0 IP; 1.18 K/Inn (No. 2)
- .162 Opponent Batting Avg. (No. 1)
It’s hard to determine just who can claim the title of the best team ever, given the difference in statistical analysis across multiple sports. Still, when you stack this year’s Oklahoma team up against the other great teams of all time, it’s clear they belong.
As far as the best softball team in D-I history, it’s safe to say 2023 Oklahoma is the new standard. 1994 Arizona was widely regarded as the best team to ever play on a softball diamond until Oklahoma’s 2022 squad broke records at an incredible pace. That team’s offensive numbers were insane, thanks to the best college softball player of all time, Jocelyn Alo.
However, this year’s team was more well-rounded, with a better pitching staff, better defense, and a still-potent offense. With 1994 Arizona as the measuring stick, Gasso’s 2023 team bested Candrea’s Wildcats in fielding percentage, errors, ERA, average margin of victory, slugging percentage, and winning percentage, while just barely trailing them in batting average.
When it comes to the softball diamond, Patty Gasso’s squad from 2023 tops the field.