Wichita State softball: Oklahoma preview


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) -Wichita State is coming off a series sweep of the Memphis Tigers last weekend. The Shockers won by scores of 12-2, 6-2, 6-5 and 5-0. Wichita State belted 10 home runs in the series and extended its win streak to five in a row. Bailey Lange recorded her third complete-game shutout of the season in the finale and went 2-0 with a save over the weekend. Sydney McKinney continued her recent tear at the plate. The sophomore shortstop has had multiple hits in eight consecutive games.

Oklahoma enters the matchup at a perfect 28-0 this season and ranked No. 1 in all of the major polls. The Sooners are riding a 35-game win streak dating back to the 2020 season. OU boasts the nation’s best offense, as they lead the country in home runs, home runs per game, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored. Jocelyn Alo is the potential frontrunner for NPOY with eye-popping stats of .566 batting avg., 22 home runs and 58 RBI through 28 games. The Sooners feature five players hitting .500 or better in the lineup and four with 11 or more home runs. The pitching staff sports a salty 1.45 ERA with 211 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .142.

Wichita State and Oklahoma have a series of history dating all the way back to 1978. The Sooners have dominated the series, holding a 48-5 advantage. Wichita State is 3-12 vs. Oklahoma in Wichita. OU has won the last 37 meetings.

Wichita State and Oklahoma squared off in Norman a season ago before COVID halted play for the remainder of the year. The Shockers held an early 4-0 lead before sixth-ranked Oklahoma came back to win 8-5 on March 4, 2020. Bailey Lange and Neleigh Herring both homered in the contest, while Herring also drove in three of the team’s five runs.

Sophomore shortstop Sydney McKinneypicked up her second straight American Athletic Conference Player of the Week honor on April 5. McKinney was 10-for-14 (.714) in the series vs. Memphis with a double, home run, four RBI and six runs. She extended her multi-hit streak to eight consecutive games. Additionally, redshirt senior pitcher Bailey Lange registered her sixth American Weekly Honor Roll selection. Lange was 2-0 with a save in 13.0 innings, including her third complete game shutout of the season in the series finale at Memphis.

Sophomore Sydney McKinneyhas been a terror for opposing pitchers since league play started. In eight games, McKinney is 19-for-27 (.704) at the plate with two home runs, eight RBI, six stolen bases and 14 runs scored. The leadoff hitter has a career-best eight-game multi-hit streak entering the matchup with No. 1 OU.

Wichita State is receiving 19 votes – the most in school history – in the latest NFCA Coaches Poll (April 6). The Shockers are on the brink of the top 25 for the third straight week.

In the third release of the 2021 RPI, Wichita State sits at No. 33 after a 24-5 start to the regular season. Wichita State opponents that sit in the top 50 include: Arkansas at No. 5, Oklahoma at No. 16, Oklahoma State at No. 18, Texas at No. 28, South Dakota State at No. 34, UCF No. 37 and Iowa State at No. 46..

(Wichita State Athletics contributed information to this article.)

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