By Arnie Leshin
California was hopeful of pulling off a major upset, but instead the PAC-12 Bears were just another statistic belonging to top-ranked Oklahoma in its 5-inning 16-3 mercy-rule success in the Norman Regional
It was the third straight win in the region for the once-beaten (54-1) Sooners and they now head to Oklahoma City, a 30-mile ride south of Norman for the next Regional.
The start of the Oklahoma hit parade came in its first at bat when it clouted four home runs before California even came to bat.
The Bears did manage five hits after Oklahoma yielded only two in the previous wins,11-0 over Hofstra and 11-0 over Missouri. They also knocked out starting senior righthander Alex Storako in the third inning after she entered with a 17-0 record and 0.74 earned run average.
This advanced the Sooners to 54-1, the lone setback, 4-3 to Baylor in Waco, was avenged handily two months later when Oklahoma returned to Waco and shut the Bears down in straight sets 12-0, 10-0, and 8-0.
They have won 43 in a row.
Do they reign supreme?, well they do so at this point. After the loss at Baylor and UCLA was named No. 1, Oklahoma played the Bruins in Los Angeles two weeks later and hammered them 14-0, in five frames that totally burned out the home fans there.
They have four key ingredients, starting pitching, well-balanced lineup, excellent defense, and stellar base running.