Reedy Davenport did not hold back Thursday when asked about the level of Clemson’s confidence heading into Friday’s NCAA Super Regional with No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma.
She told the Out of Bounds crew from The Roar 105.5 FM—Clemson Athletics’ flagship station—that the Clemson softball team came to Oklahoma to have fun and to win a softball series. In their mind, all the pressure is on the Sooners.
“Why not us? Certainly, they have a winning streak going and they are a great program, there is no question about it. Great players, great coaches. There is a reason they are number one in the country,” Clemson head coach John Rittman said. “But like I mentioned earlier. The game does not know who is supposed to win. That is why we play the game. We are going to go out there and give it our best shot.”
No one outside of the Clemson softball program is giving the Tigers much of a chance to knock off Oklahoma. The Sooners have won 46 consecutive games, the second longest win streak in the history of the sport and one shy of tying the all-time record. The last time they lost a game was back in February when Baylor beat them.
“I can’t wait to see what our team can produce,” Clemson outfielder McKenzie Clark said. “We will see what happens.”
The Tigers (48-10) appear to have the same confidence and swag, if you will, that they had early in the season. With that confidence, they raced out to a 37-1 record and won 23 straight games at one point.
But they struggled down the stretch and went into last week’s Clemson Regional searching for answers after losing eight of their last regular season games.
They seemed to have found the answers, though.
Clemson ran through the Clemson Regional to advance to the Norman (Okla.) Super Regional. The Tigers produced 31 runs in the four games, outscoring their opponents 31-8 while smacking out 37 hits in three days, three more than the previous six games.
“We have played in a lot of big games in our program’s short history, and we played in a lot of big games this year,” Rittman said. “I know our team is up for the challenge. We are a team that plays relaxed. We really do.
“We have a lot of fun, but we are well prepared for what lies ahead.”
What lies ahead is an Oklahoma team that is 54-1, hitting .376 as a team, averaging 8.38 runs per night and has hit 104 home runs in 55 games. Oh, by the way, the Sooners pitching isn’t too bad either.
Their four pitchers have a combined 0.88 earned run average—best in the nation—and is led by Jordy Bahl.
Of course, Valerie Cagle and the Clemson pitching staff is perhaps the best pitching staff Oklahoma has seen since it played Florida State earlier in the year. The Tigers rank second in the country with a 1.36 ERA.
“They put their shoes and pants on just like we do,” Rittman said. “Certainly, it is going to be a big challenge for us, and we know we have to play our best softball to come out with a victory this weekend.”
Game 1 of the Norman Super Regional will begin Friday at 2 p.m. (eastern) from Marita Hynes Field in Norman.
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