OU softball coach Patty Gasso says star pitcher Jordy Bahl 'still day to day'
“Still day to day,” Gasso said. “The goal is to get her pain free, and we’re still working in that direction. Lot of different things that we’re trying for her. Doctors are involved as well. So if it’s do-able, it will be done, but we’re not going to do it if it’s (not) comfortable enough for her to do it.”
Bahl is 21-1 with a 0.95 ERA, starting 23 of the Sooners’ 51 games so far this season. She’s struck out 199 in 132 ⅓ innings, while walking 29.
Bahl’s season included complete games against some of the Sooners’ best opponents — UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma State.
She hasn’t pitched since coming on in relief in the second game of the Bedlam series on May 6.
Gasso said Bahl is anxious to get back in the circle.
“She’s handling it very optimistically,” Gasso said. “She’s frustrated that she can’t help the team, but she’s confident she’s gonna get the opportunity to get back on the field.”
Gasso said she wasn’t sure whether or not Bahl threw at all during the Sooners’ practice Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m not sure but if she did anything today, it was very, very, very light,” Gasso said.
Here are two other takeaways from Gasso’s press conference ahead of the Sooners’ regional, which top-seeded OU opens against Prairie View A&M at 6:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN Plus).
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Tough day of practice
The Sooners had what will be one of their toughest practice days of the postseason Tuesday as Gasso works to get her team ready for the postseason.
“It’s just continuing to motivate but also holding them accountable, and probably today was one of the bigger days that I’ve held,” Gasso said. “It was hot, and we were practicing for a while. But I was relentless with them, and I think that’s just showing them that I care — that I’m not going to sit back and say, ‘That’s OK. That’s good enough,’ when it’s not. I just continue to drive and push them.”
Gasso said there’s no magic formula for getting her team ready for postseason play, but the experience of coaching five Women’s College World Series champions helps.
“Ultimately I’m talking to them about, ‘I know what you want, so I know what it looks like in order to get what you want and this isn’t what it looks like and these are the things that have to change,’” Gasso said. “I give them a rest when I gotta give them a rest, but today was a day, it’s gonna be one of our tougher practice days, and I was on them.
"I think when they feel me that way, they know what I’m trying to do and the importance of elevating their game and not letting the sun beat down on them or when they don’t get what they want, they maybe not hustle down the line or something like that. I just don’t let that happen because that’s not who we are and if I allow that to happen, it just starts to bleed into everything else that we’re doing.”
As a freshman last season, Nicole May pitched in some critical moments. She pitched in the first game of the Sooners’ Super Regional vs. Washington, an elimination game against James Madison and in the first game of the championship series of the Women’s College World Series.
“Nicole May has always done very well under pressure,” Gasso said. “She showed that last year and she’s been showing it this year.”
Even if Bahl returns, May figures to be used in crucial situations once again.
May is 12-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.
While May has experience pitching on softball’s biggest stage, Hope Trautwein does not.
After spending the first four seasons of her college career at North Texas, Trautwein transferred to OU where she’ll make her tournament debut.
Gasso said she hasn’t decided on who will get the start Friday.
“The first day, on Friday night, try to if possible, you want to get all your pitchers on the mound just to get them a feel for what it feels like in this setting and get it under your belt so now you’re good to go the rest of the way,” Gasso said. “So that might be the strategy we have going forward. I’m not quite sure yet. But that’s always our plan is to try to get as many players on the field Friday night as we can.”