We are officially heading into the sixth and final weekend of college softball before conference play opens up on the last weekend in March.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas are all set to host classics at their home stadiums, while Iowa State is heading back to California for the Mizuno Classic. Texas and Baylor are both hosting three-game series against non-conference opponents.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State continue to round into form as two of the top teams in the country, while Texas is still figuring out who they are. This weekend is the last time for everyone to get their rotations figured out before their conference record is on the line.
With that being said, let’s dive into what each team has on the docket this weekend.
Oklahoma comes back from Hawaii with a 20-0 record and has won 16 of their contests via run rule. Jocelyn Alo finally made history with her 96th career long ball and she did in front of all of her family and friends from Hawaii. The Sooners’ pitching staff has been terrific, culminating in a team ERA of 0.96. The Sooners will host the Hall of Fame Classic at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. While it may not be the official home stadium of the Sooners, it might as well be as the Sooners have been in eight of the last nine Women’s College World Series in OKC. This week, Oklahoma will face Sam Houston, Indiana, San Diego, Houston, and Iowa. If the Sooners continue to handle their business, they should have no problems this weekend.
|Sam Houston||Mar 18 (Fri)||4:00 p.m. CT||Oklahoma City, OK||TV: SoonerSports.TV|
|Indiana||Mar 18 (Fri)||6:30 p.m. CT||Oklahoma City, OK||TV: SoonerSports.TV|
|San Diego||Mar 19 (Sat)||1:30 p.m. CT||Oklahoma City, OK||TV: SoonerSports.TV|
|Houston||Mar 19 (Sat)||4:00 p.m. CT||Oklahoma City, OK||TV: SoonerSports.TV|
|Iowa||Mar 20 (Sun)||11:30 a.m CT||Oklahoma City, OK||TV: SoonerSports.TV|
Oklahoma State has won 12 of their last 14 games and Kenny Gajewski’s pitching staff is starting to find its rhythm. This weekend the Cowgirls will host a pesky Wichita State team and Kansas City. The Shockers are 15-7 and will be an excellent benchmark for OSU right before conference play begins. If Oklahoma State is the juggernaut that I, and most of the country, though they would be this season, they should handle Wichita State.
|Wichita State||Mar 18 (Fri)||2:30 p.m. CT||Stillwater, OK||TV: ESPN+|
|Kansas City||Mar 18 (Fri)||5:00 p.m. CT||Stillwater, OK||TV: ESPN+|
|Kansas City||Mar 19 (Sat)||2:30 p.m. CT||Stillwater, OK|
|Wichita State||Mar 19 (Sat)||5:00 p.m. CT||Stillwater, OK|
Texas has a major test on its hands this weekend as they host the LSU Tigers, who are fresh off of a series win over the 4th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. LSU was able to hang 13 on the Tide in game one of the series and followed that barrage up with a 5-1 victory in Game 2. The Tide avoided the sweep with a 2-1 victory in Game 3, but this is the same Alabama team that swept Texas just two weeks ago. Now, to be fair, Texas has looked much better since then, going 7-0-1 including a two-game sweep of #23 Louisiana earlier this week. Can the Longhorns keep the streak going this weekend? If they can, it would be monumental for their confidence heading into conference games.
|LSU (#18)||Mar 18 (Fri)||6:00 p.m. CT||Austin, TX||TV: LHN|
|LSU (#18)||Mar 19 (Sat)||2:00 p.m. CT||Austin, TX||TV: LHN|
|LSU (#18)||Mar 19 (Sat)||4:30 p.m. CT||Austin, TX||TV: LHN|
Iowa State continues to show grit early in the season, but just can’t find a way to get over the hump against the top teams. In the Louisville Slugger Invitational, the Cyclones came close to knocking off #25 UCF, but fell 7-5. They followed that up with a 6-2 victory over a good Cal State Fullerton team, but fell back down against Sacramento State, losing 3-2. Mikayla Ramos has been powerful at the plate, launching 10 HR’s in the first 24 games, which ties for first in the Big 12 with Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings and seventh in the country. ISU needs to string together wins this weekend, and can do so if they just play their game.
|Marist||Mar 17 (Thu)||4:00 p.m. CT||Stockton, CA|
|Pacific||Mar 17 (Thu)||6:15 p.m. CT||Stockton, CA|
|Pacific||Mar 18 (Fri)||4:30 p.m. CT||Stockton, CA|
|Sacramento State||Mar 18 (Fri)||6:45 p.m. CT||Stockton, CA|
|Santa Clara||Mar 13 (Sun)||2:15 p.m. CT||Stockton, CA|
The Baylor Bears have gone 4-4 in their last eight games, and have struggled to find consistency in the circle. McNeese State offers the Bears a good challenge, but one they should be able to take advantage of. McKenzie Wilson has been the main offensive threat for BU, while Emily Hott and Sydney Collazos have been solid as well. Kaci West leads the team with a 1.78 ERA, but everyone outside of her is allowing 3 or more runs per game. The Bears need to win this series badly because sitting at 13-9 with series against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to start conference play is not ideal.
|McNeese State||Mar 18 (Fri)||6:00 p.m. CT||Waco, TX||TV: ESPN+|
|McNeese State||Mar 19 (Sat)||12:00 p.m. CT||Waco, TX||TV: ESPN+|
|McNeese State||Mar 19 (Sat)||2:30 p.m. CT||Waco, TX||TV: ESPN+|
Texas Tech is quietly building a little confidence as the Red Raiders have gone 8-1 in their last nine games and back above .500 heading into the last weekend of non-conference tournaments. Incarnate Word and Northern Colorado come to Lubbock and give TTU a chance to make it nine wins in a row if they can grab home-field advantage this weekend. Next weekend things get tougher when Tech heads to Stillwater to face the ninth-ranked Cowgirls.
|Incarnate Word||Mar 19 (Sat)||1:30 p.m. CT||Lubbock, TX|
|Northern Colorado||Mar 19 (Sat)||4:00 p.m. CT||Lubbock, TX|
|Northern Colorado||Mar 20 (Sun)||12:30 p.m. CT||Lubbock, TX|
|Incarnate Word||Mar 20 (Sun)||3:00 p.m. CT||Lubbock, TX|
Kansa has struggled mightily in the last ten games, going 1-9 and just ending a nine-game losing streak with a victory over SEMO on Monday. This weekend they will host South Dakota and Tulsa in the Rock Chalk Challenge, and they need to take advantage of it because the hill gets steep soon. Games against Wichita State, Texas, Missouri, and Texas Tech await the Jayhawks next and will prove to be much tougher competition than they will face on Saturday and Sunday.
|South Dakota||Mar 19 (Sat)||3:00 p.m. CT||Lawrence, KS|
|Tulsa||Mar 19 (Sat)||5:30 p.m. CT||Lawrence, KS|
|South Dakota||Mar 20 (Sun)||3:00 p.m. CT||Lawrence, KS|
|Tulsa||Mar 20 (Sun)||5:30 p.m. CT||Lawrence, KS|