With just four weekends left in the college softball regular season, the best teams in the sport have separated themselves from the rest of the field. Teams like Alabama, Florida State, Virginia Tech, UCLA, and Oklahoma State have proven themselves to have special teams that are capable of being among the final eight teams left in Oklahoma City.
While those teams have had fantastic seasons, let’s be clear about something: Oklahoma is in a whole different class at this point in the season. At 36-0, the Sooners are off to the best start in NCAA softball history.
Oklahoma State and Texas are strong contenders in the conference and should push Oklahoma harder than Texas Tech and Baylor have thus far into Big 12 play.
With that in mind, let’s see where each of the teams in the conference stands today in our Big 12 Softball Power Rankings.
The Sooners have four batters in the top 25 of individual batting average (ranked first nationally as a team with .392), and three pitchers in the top eight of individual ERA (ranked first nationally with .60). Jocelyn Alo (21), Grace Lyons (17), and Tiare Jennings (16) all rank in the top six for home runs hit this season, with Alo’s 21 leading the country. OU has won 30 of its 36 games by run rule and is fresh off a weekend in which they outscored Texas Tech 43-0 over a three-game series. This is the best team in the country right now and the gap between them and the second-best team feels quite wide.
After dropping a game to Iowa State in game one of their series in Ames, Oklahoma State bounced back and won the series with 5-3 and 11-1 victories. The cowgirls play terrific defense and currently rank sixth in the country in fielding percentage at .982. They have also been impressive in the circle, with an ERA of 1.91 that ranks 16th nationally. Add in a .312 team batting average (29th), .405 on-base percentage (18th), and an ace in Kelly Maxwell who holds a 1.11 ERA in 100.2 IP and you have the makings of a team that can easily make it to OKC in June.
Texas took the weekend off ahead of its weekend series with the Oklahoma Sooners but is quietly starting to creep back towards the upper echelon of softball with its recent play. The Longhorns currently rank 11th nationally in scoring (6.71 runs per game) and on-base percentage (.413) and have lost only once in their last 21 contests. Coming off a sweep of the next team on this list, Texas will try and solidify itself as one of the top teams in the country by taking down its bitter rival Oklahoma this weekend, but that will be easier said than done.
Iowa State would’ve fallen one spot if not for their best win of the season coming on Friday against Oklahoma State. While the win was a big one, the Cyclones are just 1-9 in their last 10 and need to find a way to stop the bleeding. Mikayla Ramos’ 13 home runs rank fourth in the conference behind three Oklahoma batters as she continues to be the bright spot for the ISU offense with a team-leading 44 RBIs. Unfortunately for Iowa State, the Cyclones lack an ace in the circle and a team ERA of 3.63 isn’t going to get it done consistently. This team is fighting to keep its head above water and a visit from struggling Texas Tech is probably a sight for sore eyes after opening Big 12 play with Texas and Oklahoma State.
After opening conference play with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Baylor secured their first series win over a Big 12 opponent this season after beating Kansas 10-3 in Game 1 and 4-3 in Game 2. The Bears dropped Game 3 in Lawrence, but got themselves back over .500, which is a great place to be considering what remains on their schedule. Baylor has four games between now and its next conference series with Texas Tech, and if they can win all four of those games, they will be in a fantastic spot going into their final three series of the regular season.
Kansas has won three of it’s last seven games and avoided being swept by Baylor this weekend with a 3-1 victory in Game 3. The Jayhawks also finished their series with Texas Tech last weekend by blowing out the Red Raiders in Lubbock 10-4. Since that game Tech has looked broken, albeit against Oklahoma. I’m giving Kansas credit for refusing to be swept in either of its last two series and rewarding them with the six spot in this week’s power rankings.
Whew, Texas Tech has a rough weekend. The Red Raiders had given up 141 runs all season before hosting Oklahoma this weekend, giving up 43 runs in three games. In 15 innings of action, the Sooners managed to score nearly a third of the runs that Tech had given up in the previous 35 games. Texas Tech was completely outmatched and have been outscored 53-4 in their last four games. As of right now, Texas Tech looks like the worst team in the league but has chances to improve with series against Iowa State and Baylor coming up.