A tall order awaits the USF softball team (50-12) in their first trip to the Women's College World Series. They play the first game of the 2012 series this afternoon against the fourth-seeded Oklahoma Sooners (50-8), just 20 miles up the road from Norman in Oklahoma City. The Sooners are led by 6'2" pitcher Keilani Ricketts, who was named the Amateur Softball Association's 2012 USA Softball Player of the Year last night. The junior left-hander has a 0.99 ERA in 254 2/3 innings pitched and is the anchor of a pitching staff that led Division I in combined ERA at 1.12.
USF finished second in Division I with a 1.15 combined ERA, but that will be tested by Oklahoma's offense, which has scored at least five runs in their last 13 consecutive games. The Sooners batted .321 as a team this season, good for 8th in Division I, and hit a whopping 94 home runs. (It probably helped that Norman in springtime is basically a wind tunnel.) Their freshman slugger, Lauren Chamberlain, hit 27 by herself, which was second in Division I and equal to the number of homers that USF's entire team hit.
This could be a rough afternoon, but we're here to talk about it. Collin made the trip to Oklahoma City and will provide updates live from the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, while the rest of us chime in as we're able. The winner moves on to play either California or LSU on Friday night, while the loser meets the loser of that same matchup on Saturday afternoon in an elimination game.