David versus Goliath is one of the more well-known stories throughout history, and is often used as a metaphor to describe scenarios between an overwhelming favorite and a tenacious underdog. This weekend, it perfectly describes the matchup between an upstart Clemson softball program and one of the giants of the sport, Oklahoma.
In just four years of existence, three full years at that, the Clemson softball program has ascended to extraordinary heights. The program has hosted and won back-to-back regionals at McWhorter Stadium, and this weekend, they will be traveling to its second consecutive Super Regional.
The giant standing between Clemson and their first Women’s College World Series is the two-time defending champion Oklahoma. The top-seeded Sooners will enter the weekend winners of the previous two WCWS tournaments and five of the last 10 tournaments. Norman has turned into a powerhouse on the softball diamond and are the team to beat if you want to win a national title.
2023 has been a ride for the Tigers. Clemson won 37 of its first 38 games and rose all the way to fourth in the national rankings before getting swept at home by ACC powerhouse Florida State. The Tigers made the ACC tournament as the 3-seed, losing to Duke while getting no-hit in the tournament semifinal. Clemson made the NCAA tournament as a 16-seed, hosting Auburn, Cal State Fullerton, and UNC Greensboro. The Tigers defeated Auburn 5-1 in the final game to advance to the Super Regionals.
Led by ACC Player of the Year and USA Softball Player of the Year finalist, Valerie Cagle, the Tigers will look for their first Super Regional win and trip to the Women’s College World Series. So far, Clemson has had to travel to Alabama, Oklahoma State, and now Oklahoma for postseason play; all three programs are Oklahoma City (where the Women’s CWS is hosted) regulars.
The Tigers have already accomplished so much in their short history. They face a giant this weekend, but it provides an incredible opportunity at history. Clemson looks like a program that is going to be competing in these types of games for years to come.
The 2023 Norman Super Regional schedule is listed below.
Game 1: Friday, May 26, 2 p.m. EST (ESPN2)
Game 2: Saturday, May 27th, 1 p.m. EST (ESPN+)
Game 3*: Sunday, May 28th, TBD