NORMAN — Oklahoma softball senior Jocelyn Alo was named the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and freshman Tiare Jennings claimed NFCA/Schutt Sports Division I Freshman of the Year, the organizations announced Tuesday evening.
It marks the first time in the history of the two awards that one program has swept both national honors.
Alo collects OU’s third USA Softball Player of the Year Award, joining 2013 alum Keilani Ricketts (2012, ’13) as the only Sooners to win the award. Alo, the Big 12 Player of the Year and First Team All-Big 12 and All-Region selection, has paced the explosive Oklahoma offense in 2021, holding the nation’s lead in home runs (30) and slugging percentage (1.135) and ranks second in RBIs (82) and fourth in batting average (.487). Her 30 home runs entering the World Series is tied for the program record she set herself in 2018, along with Lauren Chamberlain in 2012 and ’13.
The senior slugger has homered in 28 of OU’s 52 games, including two grand slams and two multi-home run games. Alo is averaging 0.58 home runs per game and a home run ever 5.2 at-bats. The Hauula, Hawaii, native has registered a hit in 47 of OU’s 52 games, including going on a program record 40-game consecutive hit streak dating from Feb. 21, 2020 to April 3, 2021. The streak was just three games shy of the all-time NCAA record.
Alo tied the NCAA record for consecutive games with a home run at seven from March 7 vs. Sam Houston through OU’s first matchup with Iowa State, March 26. The Hauula, Hawaii, native has 84 career homers, just 11 shy of the OU and NCAA career record (95), set by 2015 OU grad Lauren Chamberlain.
Jennings wins OU’s third NFCA Freshman of the Year honor, joining Paige Parker in 2015 and Alo in 2018. A Sooner has won three times in the seven-year history of the award.
Also the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Jennings has hit 25 home runs to go with 84 RBIs in her first-year campaign. Her RBI mark leads in the nation and she’s tied for second in the country for home runs, just five behind fellow national award winner Alo’s 30. She holds an exceptional slash line of .485/.537/1.059. The San Pedro, Calif., product has homered in 21 of OU’s 52 games and hit multiple homers in a game three times, beginning with the season opener at UTEP where she tied a single-game program record with three home runs in her first collegiate game. The frosh has started every game of the season at second or third base and holds a .972 fielding percentage with 55 putouts and 48 assists to just three errors.
Oklahoma freshman Jayda Coleman was also a finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year. OU is one of two programs in the award’s history with two of the three finalists for the award, joining Florida’s Amanda Lorenz (winner) and Kelly Barnhill in 2016. The third finalist for this season’s honor was Clemson’s Valerie Cagle.
The other two finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year were UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Washington’s Gabbie Plain. OU’s Jennings was a top-10 finalist for the award earlier in the season.
Alo, Jennings and the Sooners set their sights on the Women’s College World Series, beginning Thursday in Oklahoma City. Top-seed OU meets James Madison Thursday morning at 11 a.m. for the WCWS opener.
The game can be seen on ESPN and heard on The Franchise (107.7 FM) in Oklahoma and nationwide on the TuneIn app with OU play-by-play announcer Chris Plank on the call. Fans can also listen to the game via SiriusXM channel 84 and through Westwood One Sports.
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