Overall Record: 50-12
Conference: Big East (3rd, 17-5)
Head Coach: Ken Eriksen

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No. 4 OKLAHOMA Sooners
Overall Record: 50-8
Conference: Big 12 (1st, 19-5)
   Head Coach: Patty Gasso


Venue: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Game Time: 1 p.m. ET
   Pam Ward (play by play)
   Michelle Smith (color)
   Holly Rowe (field reporter)

Who to Watch for the Bulls: P Sara Nevins, 1.03 ERA, 31-6, 323 K; Janine Richardson, .298, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 13 SB; Kenshyra Jackson, .297, 5 HR, 37 RBI

Who to Watch for the Sooners: P/DP Keilani Ricketts, .407, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 0.99 ERA, 33-7, 393 K; C Jessica Shults, .382, 19 HR, 57 RBI; 1B Lauren Chamberlain, .352, 27 HR, 71 RBI


South Florida
    def. Central Florida, 1-0 [ Box ]
    def. Florida Gulf Coast, 8-3 [ Box ]
    def. No. 5 Florida, 1-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    lost to Hofstra, 2-1 (11 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Hofstra, 2-1 (9 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Hofstra, 2-1 [ Box ]

    def. Lehigh, 19-3 (5 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Tulsa, 7-1 [ Box ]
    def. Oregon State, 6-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. Arizona, 6-0 [ Box ]
    def. Arizona, 7-1 [ Box ]

Rosters: South Florida | Oklahoma Schedules: South Florida | Oklahoma
More Postseason: National Statistics Scoreboard  Interactive Bracket  Video  Photos

Top pitching staffs in the nation open WCWS play

Looking at the national team ERA leaders, it doesn't take long to find Oklahoma and South Florida. Actually, it only takes two lines.

Oklahoma enters its second consecutive WCWS sporting the nation's best ERA, checking in with a miniscule 1.15. Junior All-American and USA Softball National Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts is the Sooners' primary reason for success as her 0.99 ERA makes her one of just three pitchers nationally under 1.00.

Not to be outdone, the Bulls are nipping at the Sooners' heels, ranking second with a 1.18 team mark thanks to sophomore Sara Nevins. USF's star pitcher holds a 1.03 ERA entering the first game in Oklahoma City.

As if the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup wasn't intriguing enough, both Ricketts and Nevins are lefties. It will leave little room for maneuvering since both have a good idea of what to expect.        

South Florida vs. Oklahoma
Batting Average .262 .321
Home Runs 27 95
Runs Per Game 4.0 6.6
Stolen Bases 92 63
ERA 1.18 1.15

"Getting to see Keilani’s speed is helpful, but to see a break from a lefty, It’s going to make us very prepared," Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. "What we really have to do is be smart on pitch selection. So when we make an adjustment at the plate we don’t expand the strike zone. We get on the plate, we don’t let the strike zone go out. We know where the plate is, where the strike zone is. Besides that, I think it’s a great advantage, but they get the same advantage as well." 

While they are almost identical in the circle, the teams couldn't be more different at the plate.

Oklahoma is swinging for the fences every chance it gets. To date, the Sooners have launched a nation-leading 95 home runs, including 16 by the versatile Ricketts, 19 by catcher Jessica Shults and a Big 12 Conference record 27 from freshman Lauren Chamberlain.

Chamberlain's impressive season -- her home run total ties South Florida's team total -- has left even her coach nearly speechless.

"I’ve not seen a freshman come in wihth so much strength and determination really," Gasso said. "When we first got started, her swing was long, she was getting quite a few striketouts. I talked with our hitting coach Tripp Mackay and they went in and tweaked a few things and Lauren really worked on making those changes and things really opened up for her. She has areally good eye for the ball.

"What makes her good is she can hit bad pitches really hard, so you think you’re throwing around her and she’ll find it. She’ll hammer it and she never gets cheated. So the strength, maturity and power she has as a freshman I’ve not ever seen before." 

The Sooners may pile up the runs against most teams, but USF's strategy will remain the same: let Nevins and Co. keep it in the game and scratch out a run anywhere it can.

"We saw really good pitching throughout the year this year, and obviously facing Sara in scrimmages, I think we’re prepared," South Florida coach Ken Eriksen said. "There’s nothing we’re going to see that’s going to surprise us. But that’s part of the preparation of getting the schedule together, part of having good players on the team who can scrimmage against you. So we’re ready to tee it up." 

When they meet in the first contest of the 2012 Women's College World Series, don't walk away from the action. You may miss the only run of the game. 

                                                                                                               -- Jerry Trickie,

► USF is the 54th overall team to make an appearance in the WCWS, and the 14th with one berth. The last first-timer coming in to the WCWS was Hawaii in the 2010 season when the Rainbow Wahine went 1-2.

► Coach Ken Eriksen is the U.S. National Team coach and was an assistant when the U.S. won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.

► Sara Nevins leads the pitching staff, but she's been far from alone in carrying the Bulls. Lindsey Richardson (1.34 ERA, 83.1 IP) and Sam Greiner (1.58 ERA, 97.1 IP) have each played pivotal roles in USF's path to Oklahoma City.

► Nevins broke the school single-season record for strikeouts during super regional play as she accumulated K No. 321 against Hofstra (she now has 323). It broke Leigh Ann Ellis' mark of 320 in 2003. 

► The Sooners broke the Big 12 single-season home run record and now have 95 round-trippers heading into the WCWS. Three players have at least 16 homers and two others have nine.

► While Keilani Ricketts gets most of the attention, Michelle Gascoigne has also put up stellar numbers. Heading into the week, she owns a 16-1 record and a 1.49 ERA to rank in the top 25 nationally.

► Catcher Jessica Shults missed seven postseason games while receiving treatment for pan ulcerative colitis as a sophomore in 2011. She returned to the lineup on June 4 in the Sooners' final WCWS game. 

► Oklahoma is one of two teams -- along with Arizona, which the Sooners beat last week to reach the WCWS -- to be ranked all 256 weeks since the NFCA poll began.