OLLU softball ranked No. 2 in nation, blasts record for wins
Apr 13, 2023
The Saints softball team has now secured the Red River Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships, and they extended their winning streak to 35 games. They will host the San Antonio Bracket of the 2023 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. The 10th annual event takes place May 15-17 at 10 host cities. The San Antonio Bracket will be held at St. Mary's University. The Saints will take on Taylor University from Upland, Indiana, at 1 p.m. on May 15.
The No. 2-ranked Saints softball program has garnered national and local attention while on an unprecedented regular-season run that started in February. The Saints are 36-4 overall and have a perfect 22-0 Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) mark. The Saints have won 27 straight games, surpassing their previous record of 24 straight wins set last season.
The Saints were picked as the No. 15-ranked team to start the season in February after finishing the 2022 season in the NAIA National Regionals, where they went 2-2. The program hosted two tournaments to begin the year and won nine out of 12 contests. The Saints swept the NAIA’s No. 1 and three ranked seeds shortly after the season started. They defeated the defending national champions, Oklahoma City University, 15-3 and 8-1 on the road. They followed that impressive performance with two more victories against the No. 3-ranked University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Drovers. The four wins were integral in adding to the current 19-game winning streak. They finished February as the No. 7-ranked team in the NAIA, as announced on March 8.
OLLU received its highest NAIA ranking in program history on March 22. The Saints were recognized as the second-best team in the league and received two first-place votes. The No. 2 ranking was reaffirmed on April 5 with the release of the third NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
The Saints rank in the top five among all NAIA teams in the following categories:
First in home runs (56 - 26 more than the second ranked team)
First in slugging percentage (.602)
First in total bases (579)
First in home runs by Cassandra Valdez (11)
First in hit-by-pitch by Caitlin Terrazas (19)
First in wins by Cassandra Valdez (17)
Second in innings pitched by Cassandra Valdez (141.0)
Second in runs (267)
Second in RBIs (245)
Second in bit-by-pitch (39)
Third in homers for Madison Nunn (9)
Third in doubles (74)
Fourth in strikeouts by Cassandra Valdez (167)
Fourth in strikeouts (283)
Head Coach Bruce Lenington returned for his fourth season, and prior to joining OLLU, he had stints at NCAA D1 Michigan State University and NAIA’s Lawrence Tech University. On March 7, he recorded his 100th career win.
Next up, the Saints head west to face the University of the Southwest in a doubleheader on April 15. The Saints have six games remaining before the RRAC Championship Tournament from May 5-8. OLLU will host the event for the second straight season.