Can Oklahoma win both the men’s and women’s College World Series this year?
No school has ever won both the women’s College World Series and the men’s in the same year. Oklahoma could be just the team to do it.
May was a rough month for the Oklahoma Sooners baseball program. They kicked off the month with a three-game losing streak. At that same time, the ladies were steaming through the back end of the softball season, collecting win after win.
As the Lady Sooners went to the super regionals and then the women’s College World Series, something remarkable happened with the baseball team. Having wobbled and stumbled, punch-drunk through the back end of their season, they suddenly found their feet in the Big 12 championship tournament.
Sweeping all comers aside, the Big 12 champs were in the unusual position of having to travel for the regional stage of the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma may have won the conference, but Texas were still the higher-ranked team, and while Austin became a hosting venue, the Sooners would have to do their grunt work in the sticky heat of Gainesville, Florida.
Trouncing Liberty and then handing hosts Florida a statement loss, the Gators bounced back and handed the Sooners their first loss in seven games to force the decisive match. The underdog Sooners raised a few eyebrows by winning game three and advancing to the super regionals in Blacksburg.
With a tight win over fourth-ranked Virginia Tech, Oklahoma were seen as lucky, particularly after they were handed a humiliating 14-8 loss in game two by the Hokies. But just when it looked as if the Sooners run of good fortune would peter out, they found refreshed winds and stormed to an 11-2 win to get to Omaha.
Their renewed form saw them blast their way through SEC darlings Texas A&M and end the Cinderella-like story of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, taking the direct route to the College World Series championship series. They have one foe who now stands between them and being crowned national champions, Ole Miss. Never the simple job for any opponent, the Sooners will have to top the Rebels twice if they want to make history.
Because history is what it will be. Never before, in the history of collegiate sports, has the same school held both the men’s and women’s title in the same year.
For a Sooners team whose motto is “create chaos”, the 2022 road to the College World Series has been just that. Making the rounds on social media is the quip that the only team who look like they might be able to beat the Sooners baseball team is the Sooners softball team.
The way that Oklahoma got here was on the strength of their bats. They have scored an impressive 7.7 runs per game, and they will need to find all of that to get past Ole Miss. The Rebels have one of the strongest pitching rotations in college baseball, and have held opponents to 6.5 runs per game during the season and surrendering only 20 runs in the entire NCAA tournament.
If Oklahoma can keep their momentum up, and find a way to they will have done something that has never been done before. But to get there, they will need to find a way to get past a Mississippi team that has had a story as resilient as the Sooners own. That is no mean feat, but Oklahoma need to treat it as if they were eating an elephant, and just take it one bite at a time.