Let’s dive into some season previews! I’m going to break down the Sooners toughest matchups in conference play. These will be broken down into our lineup vs best pitching staff, our staff vs best lineup, and whole team vs strongest matchup. There is a bit of speculation as well as some statistical analysis used in choosing who is the toughest. I will evaluate returnees as well as plugging in transfers and expected freshman contributors.
Let’s start with our lineup vs best staff: Oklahoma State
Returning Kelly Maxwell who was arguably the best pitcher in all of college softball last season is reason enough for the Cowgirls to be a tough matchup for the Sooners. Maxwell posted a tough 1.22 ERA going 21-5 and throwing 20 complete games. The Cowgirls graduated a couple of pitchers so it remains to be seen how well they will be replaced but they added transfer Lexi Kilfoyl from Alabama where she appeared in 18 games and posted a 2.36 ERA with a 9-3 record. I would expect her to take quite a jump from her previous 80 innings pitched if they want to keep Maxwell fresh. Sophomore Tatum Clopton only threw 9 innings last year so I would expect they are hoping to get more out of her this season.
Our staff vs best lineup: Baylor
This might surprise some people but they return the most of their top production from last season and the other teams have huge question marks so it may not be the toughest at the end of the day but predictability wise Baylor could very well be the toughest lineup we see this season in conference play. Mckenzie Wilson leads the offense with a .424 average and 29 RBI. Baylor isn’t a power offense they only hit 22 HR as a team last season. They are scrappy and were really young last year. They also return Emily Hott (.331) and Aliyah Binford (.316) the bottom of the lineup will need to take a step but as I said earlier they were young last season and can reasonably be expected to grow in production.
Best overall matchup: Oklahoma State
This is to no one’s surprise, OSU has been a program on the rise under Kenny Gajewski. He is a fantastic coach (played baseball at OU and coached under Patti Gasso as a graduate assistant) They return one of the best pitchers in all of collegiate softball as stated above, they boasted the best defense in the Big 12 last year but have some pieces to replace. They are coming off back to back to back appearances in OKC and starts the season off ranked number 3 (D1 softball). I would expect the Cowgirls to be highly motivated to protect home turf as bedlam is in Stillwater this year and most likely will be a rematch in the finals of the Big 12 tournament and possibly even in OKC.
I do not expect the Big 12 to present much of a challenge on the whole for Oklahoma but there will be a few intriguing matchups along the way. I hope you all are as excited as I am for the season to get under way Feb 9th against Duke!
Barry, and Damian, discuss the Oklahoma Sooners’ win over the Iowa State Cyclones and how they overcame early adversity on defense to close the game out with a second-half goose-egg for the opponent. They also review each position group and talk about their strengths and weaknesses as OU prepares to take on Texas.
Barry, and Damian, discuss the Oklahoma Sooners’ ability, or potential lack thereof, to run the ball this weekend against the Iowa State Cyclones. They also
Barry, and Damian, discuss the results of Oklahoma versus Cincinnati and what they believe the Sooners did well and areas they think the team can improve. Is the offensive line improving? Can Dillon take Oklahoma to that next level? Has the defense truly gone into another category when it comes to national recognition?
Barry, and Damian, discuss the results of the Oklahoma versus Tulsa and what they liked (and did not like) from the Sooners last Saturday. They go position by position and talk about what they expect from this team as they move into conference play for their last season in the Big 12 Conference.