OU softball cruises past Clemson in Game 1 of super regional, ties NCAA win streak record

NORMAN — Jayda Coleman turned and raised her hands toward the afternoon sky and started jumping.

Just moments earlier, there was a sense of uneasiness around Marita Hynes Field as Clemson cut OU’s lead in half in the opening game of the Norman Super Regional.

But these are the Sooners, as powerful a softball force as has been seen in the college game, and the breakout seemed inevitable.

Haley Lee provided the exclamation point with her towering no-doubt grand slam to centerfield in the bottom of the fifth, setting off a party atmosphere in the stadium.

The Sooners ultimately beat the Tigers 9-2 for their 47th consecutive victory, moving within a win of a seventh consecutive Women’s College World Series berth.

More: How is Jocelyn Alo’s influence on OU softball still paying off? Ask Tiare Jennings

The victory tied the Sooners with 1996-97 Arizona for the longest winning streak in NCAA history.


OU (55-1) will get its first crack at securing a spot in Oklahoma City when it takes on the Tigers at noon Saturday in the second game of the best-of-three series.

Not long before Lee’s blast, Clemson’s Caroline Jacobsen’s two-run double had cut OU’s lead in half as the Tigers took advantage of a rare rough defensive stretch by the Sooners.

And though the Sooners had scratched across four runs, including on a two-run home run by Cydney Sanders in the fourth, Valerie Cagle had kept Clemson within striking distance.

Heading into the fifth, OU had managed just three hits off the Tigers’ sensational two-way player.


But once the Sooners gained some momentum in their half of the inning, there was little Cagle could do.

More: ‘Oklahoma’s a special group’: Mike Candrea unsurprised Sooners may break his Arizona team’s NCAA record

Rylie Boone opened up the inning with a perfectly placed bunt single down the first-base line. Coleman followed with a hard single to center before Tiare Jennings reached on an infield single to load the bases just four pitches into the frame.


Cagle missed on her first three pitches to Lee, as Boone and Coleman exhorted their teammates — and OU fans — into a frenzy.

It was briefly stifled as Lee took a strike, before Lee crushed the fifth pitch she saw well over the centerfield wall.

Lee finished 1 for 2 with five RBIs.

She started the Sooners’ scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Lee is now 7 for 12 in the NCAA postseason with seven RBIs and seven runs.

The Sooners made it 2-0 without the benefit of a hit in the second, with Grace Lyons scoring on a passed ball.

Sanders kept up her recent hot streak with her two-run homer out of the park in left-center in the fourth to make it 4-0.


But Clemson (49-11) bit back on Jacobsen’s two-run double after an error helped the Tigers put runners on second and third with one out.

Sooners coach Patty Gasso stuck with Jordy Bahl through the jam, even as a single and another error loaded the bases with one out.

Bahl rewarded her for the choice, with a strikeout and a lineout to escape the inning without further damage.

Bahl pitched 5 ⅓ inning to improve to 17-1 before Storako got the final five outs.

Cagle (25-7), a national player of the year finalist, was 3 for 4 with a double.

More: How did OU softball get to verge of NCAA-record win streak? ‘Don’t have the selfishness’


Longest NCAA softball winning streaks

47: Oklahoma, 2023*

47: Arizona, 1996-97

41: Oklahoma, 2019

40: Oklahoma, 2021-22

40: Oklahoma, 2020-21

38: South Carolina, 1997

37: Florida, 2008

37: Princeton, 1996

35: Oregon, 2017

35: UCLA, 1999

35: Canisius, 1993

‘Oklahoma’s a special group’: Mike Candrea unsurprised Sooners may break his Arizona team’s NCAA record

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More: How did Clemson Tigers get to NCAA softball super regional? Meet Oklahoma Sooners’ foe

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More: OU softball routs Missouri to reach NCAA Tournament regional final, push winning streak to 45

Carlson: OU softball gave a girl an escape after the Moore tornado. Ten years later, their bond remains.


More: OU softball run-rules Hofstra in NCAA Tournament opener, extends winning streak to 44 games

More: For OU softball, facing Haley Lee ‘felt like going against Jocelyn Alo.’ Patty Gasso is more comfortable now.

Carlson: Why does OU pitcher Alex Storako wear a green ribbon? Mental health awareness ‘hits home’

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Carlson: 64 things to know about the NCAA softball tournament before the 64-team field starts Friday

More: OU softball earns No. 1 overall seed in NCAA Tournament, will host Hofstra in regional


Carlson: Will Bedlam softball continue after OU moves to SEC? Both coaches are for it, but it’s complicated

More: 2023 NCAA Softball Tournament regional and Women’s College World Series predictions

OU vs. Clemson score in NCAA softball tournament

More: NCAA softball tournament 2023: Schedule, bracket, game times, TV info, previous champions

OU vs. Clemson softball live updates & highlights

A Twitter List by jeffpattOKC

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU softball beats Clemson, ties NCAA record with 47th consecutive win

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