Baylor Bears

Big 12 Softball Preview: Sooners, Cowgirls Hosting Tournaments in Final Non-Con Weekend

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TEAM SITES

We are approaching the final weekend of tournament play as the conference schedule is set to begin next weekend.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have asserted themselves as the top two teams in the nation to this point, while Texas and Baylor continue to hang in the mix of teams that could host a super regional.

However, there’s plenty of softball between now and the postseason, and one weekend of nonconference left before we get to see the Big 12 race start to take shape.

Let’s take a look at what the final tournament weekend has to offer before Big 12 play starts.

 

#1 OKLAHOMA (22-1)

Oklahoma is rolling after picking up its seventh ranked victory on Tuesday with a 5-4 win over No. 6 Florida State. Now, the Sooners will turn their attention to the Omni Hall of Fame Classic, where they will host two ranked foes. Dates with No. 24 Northwestern and No. 22 Auburn are on the weekend schedule, and the games will be played inside Hall of Fame Stadium, the site of the WCWS. With the way the Sooners have been playing, it would be surprising if they have much trouble this weekend in a de facto home tournament.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
Weber StateMar 17 (Fri)4:00 PM CTOklahoma City, OKESPN+
#24 NorthwesternMar 17 (Fri)6:30 PM CTOklahoma City, OKESPN+
Weber StateMar 18 (Sat)4:00 PM CTOklahoma City, OKESPN+
#22 AuburnMar 18 (Sat)6:30 PM CTOklahoma City, OKESPN+
#22 AuburnMar 19 (Sun)12:30 PM CTOklahoma City, OKESPN+

#2 OKLAHOMA STATE (20-2)

Oklahoma State ascended to No. 2 in the latest ESPN Softball Top 25 after taking down No. 6 Florida State in three-game series. Now, with a wave of momentum behind them, Oklahoma State will take Central Arkansas before hosting the OSU Mizuno Classic. UCF and Arizona State will be in town for what should be a very interesting weekend tournament in Stillwater. I expect the Cowgirls to take care of business though, as they continue to stack wins in the nonconference schedule.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
Central ArkansasMar 15 (Wed)6:00 PM CTConway, ARESPN+
(RV) UCFMar 17 (Fri)3:30 PM CTStillwater, OK
(RV) Arizona StateMar 17 (Fri)6:00 PM CTStillwater, OKESPN+
(RV) Arizona StateMar 18 (Sat)2:30 PM CTStillwater, OK
(RV) UCFMar 18 (Sat)5:00 PM CTStillwater, OKESPN+
(RV) UCFMar 19 (Sun)12:30 PM CTStillwater, OKESPN+
 

#9 TEXAS (22-4-1)

This weekend, the Longhorns will finally get a change of scenery as they leave the state of Texas for the first time since the Clearwater Invitational that kicked off their 2023 season. However, the competition they will face in Florida this time around won’t be as stiff as their opening slate. Outside of a game against Iowa, there shouldn’t be much resistance for Texas to deal with this weekend, as long as they take care of business. Sometimes, that can be easier said than done though, especially when conference play opens up next weekend.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
MaristMar 17 (Fri)1:00 PM CTTampa, FL
USFMar 17 (Fri)6:00 PM CTTampa, FLESPN+
LehighMar 18 (Sat)1:00 PM CTTampa, FL
IowaMar 18 (Sat)6:00 PM CTTampa, FL
USFMar 19 (Sun)11:30 AM CTTampa, FLESPN+

#20 BAYLOR (18-4)

Baylor will get a chance to right some wrongs after dropping two games last week in shocking fashion. The Bears were starting to look like a dark horse contender to make a run this postseason, but their last two outings looked more like last year’s squad. Baylor should win all five games that it plays this weekend, and if it can do that, it will get back in the good graces of some of the voters that lost interest and dropped them four spots in this week’s poll.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
South Dakota StateMar 15 (Wed)4:00 PM CTWaco, TXFacebook Live
South Dakota StateMar 15 (Wed)6:30 PM CTWaco, TXFacebook Live
HoustonMar 17 (Fri)1:00 PM CTWaco, TXFacebook Live
HoustonMar 18 (Sat)6:00 PM CTWaco, TXFacebook Live
HoustonMar 19 (Sun)11:30 AM CTWaco, TXESPN+
 

TEXAS TECH (22-7)

Nobody, including myself, has given Craig Snider enough credit for what he has done with the Red Raiders in year one. Texas Tech has already tied its win total from 2022 (22-27 record) and will look to get to 27-7 before conference play begins. If they can do that, the Red Raiders might sneak into the tournament as the Big 12’s fifth team. While that probably seems premature, I think it’s possible and that’s crazy considering where this team was a year ago.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
RiderMar 17 (Fri)10:00 AM CTCollege Park, MDN/A
(RV) MarylandMar 17 (Fri)6:00 PM CTCollege Park, MDN/A
North DakotaMar 18 (Sat)3:30 PM CTCollege Park, MDN/A
(RV) MarylandMar 18 (Sat)6:00 PM CTCollege Park, MDN/A
BucknellMar 19 (Sun)10:00 AM CTCollege Park, MDN/A

IOWA STATE (11-13)

Iowa State had a two-game series with BYU scheduled but has canceled that series and made their game with Omaha on Sunday a double-header. Omaha beat the Cyclones 5-1 to open the 2023 season, so this will be a good chance for Iowa State to gain some confidence going into a brutal conference schedule.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
BYU (Canceled)
BYU (Canceled)
OmahaMar 19 (Sun)1:00 PM CTAmes, IAN/A
OmahaMar 19 (Sun)3:30 PM CTAmes, IAN/A

KANSAS (13-11)

Kansas began the year as an upstart and unpredictable team that would somehow win games it shouldn’t and lose games that it should win. Well, that has just turned into the trend for KU, and unfortunately, it’s been more losing as of late. The Jayhawks have lost six of their last nine games, and really need to take advantage of some winnable games this weekend before getting Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas consecutively to start conference play.

OPPONENTDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
TulsaMar 15 (Wed)2:00 PM CTLawrence, KSN/A
TulsaMar 15 (Wed)4:30 PM CTLawrence, KSN/A
NebraskaMar 19 (Sun)1:30 PM CTLawrence, KSN/A
UMKCMar 19 (Sun)4:00 PM CTLawrence, KSN/A
Wichita StateMar 21 (Tues)6:00 PM CTWichita, KSN/A

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