Gasso Earns 1,000 Softball Wins as OU Wins Easily

Gasso Earns 1,000 Softball Wins as OU Wins Easily

NORMAN, Okla.-- The picture wasn't worth a 1,000 words, but wins, well, that's a different story. On the afternoon of March 15th the OU women's softball team took a picture with head coach Patty Gasso. The picture was appropriate because the team had just given Gasso her 1,000 victory in her 20 plus year career at OU.  Below the picture were the words, fight, faith and finish. Words that the OU softball team lives by.

The Sooners hit a program-record eight homers as it routed East Carolina (8-19) 23-1 in five innings at Marita Hynes Field to improve to 21-3.

Needing just 1,300 games, Gasso became the second-fastest coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 1,000 wins. Only Arizona’s Mike Candrea did it quicker, doing so in 1,191 games. Gasso is the 28th coach in NCAA softball history to reach that figure and the 17th to do it at the DI level. She is also one of 10 coaches to get 1,000 wins at one Division I school. Gasso overall has 1,162 wins and 358 losses in 25 years.

The eight home runs tied for the fourth most in a game in NCAA Division I history, and it was the 10th time a program reached that total. Five of the eight home runs came in the third inning alone, tying a DI mark done eight times previously.

Among the highlights in the game were two home runs each for senior Shelby Pendley and junior Kady Self. In addition, senior Lauren Chamberlain tallied the 86th home run of her career, breaking a tie for third place with two other hitters. She is now just four homers away from tying the all-time mark of 90.

The third inning alone produced a record-tying 17 runs for the Sooners. That ties a record set last year against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 28 and goes down as a tie for the second-most in an inning in NCAA history.

Surprisingly, the Sooners actually trailed in the game. Ali Ramirez’s one-out, solo home run put the Pirates on the board 1-0 and marked the first time since a 6-5 loss to No. 8/7 Georgia on Feb. 20 that OU trailed, a span of 56 innings. The lead would not last long, though.

Two batters into the bottom of the second, junior Kady Self drove the first pitch she saw over the fences in center field just to the right of the batter’s eye. Her second home run of the year tied the game at 1-1.

The flood gates then opened with a five-homer, 17-run third inning.

Junior Erin Miller, freshman Paige Parker and senior Jessica Vest all hit run-scoring single to give the Sooners a 4-1 lead. A bases loaded hit by pitch recorded by Chamberlain made it 5-1. With the bases full, Pendley drilled the fourth grand slam of her career to the bleachers in left center, putting OU on top 9-1.

Two batters later, sophomore Macey Hatfield got in on the act with two-run shot to center field for her third homer of the year. Up 11-1, junior Leslie Miller pinch hit and brought home the 12th run of the game with a double. Fellow pinch hitting junior Paris Townsend followed with her first homer of the year, a towering three-run shot, to push the advantage to 15-1. The Sooners ended up going back-to-back as junior transfer Tori Nirschl hit her first home run as a Sooner with a solo blast to left center.

A walk to Chamberlain kept the inning going and Pendley capped the inning with her second homer of the frame. That brought her career total to 69, tying her for 14th place on the all-time home run list.

Leading 18-1 in the fourth, Oklahoma tacked on five more runs to tie a season high and tie for the third-most runs in a game in program history.

Self led off the inning with a solo home run to right on the first pitch of the frame. It was her career-high fourth hit of the game as she finished 4-4 with three runs scored and two solo home runs. Up next was freshman Destinie Lookout, who recorded her first career hit with a triple to the corner in right field. She came home when senior Jessica Vest doubled to right center. After an RBI double by Nirschl, Chamberlain connected on her two-run homer to close out the scoring for OU.

After the eight homers against East Carolina, OU continued its home run binge with four more in the second game Sunday in an 8-2 win over Iowa.

The Sooners hit four more home runs, including two by freshman Paige Parker, as No. 6 Oklahoma (22-3) extended its winning streak to 12 games with the win over Iowa (8-18) Sunday at Marita Hynes Field.

The four home runs continued a remarkable power streak for the Sooners. They’ve now hit at least four home runs in each of their last six games, including 21 over the weekend in four games against Iowa and East Carolina.

The win, which was the first in nine games to not come via run-rule, extended OU’s season-best win streak to 12 games. It's the team’s longest such streak since winning 16 straight from April 19 - May 23 last season. OU has outscored the opposition 139-9 during the win streak.


Bill Plummer III worked more than 30 years as the communications coordinator/National Softball Hall of Fame services manager at the Amateur Softball Association national office. He is the co-author of several noted softball books, including his award-winning A Series of Their Own: the History of the Women’s College World Series.