Baylor Bears

Big 12 Softball Preview: Oklahoma Hosts Texas Tech, Baylor Heads to Knoxville

Syndication: The Oklahoman

As the calendar turns into the second weekend of April, the Big 12 race is starting to become more clear.

With two weekends of conference play in the books, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are out front with Texas tagging along in third while Texas Tech and Baylor try to get their footing. Kansas and Iowa State are way in the back for now, and that is likely where they will stay for the duration of the season.

This weekend’s action doesn’t have an eye-popping matchup like last weekend, but there are still some interesting series in the Big 12. Perhaps the most interesting matchup though is the one out-of-conference matchup that is coming this weekend, with the Baylor Bears heading into SEC territory.

 

Here’s a look at what’s on the docket this weekend, and how I see the games playing out.

Texas Tech (28-12, 2-4) at #1 Oklahoma (33-1, 6-0)

Last weekend, the Red Raiders played host to Iowa State, and took a loss in the first game of the series before rallying to win the last two. This week, Texas Tech can’t afford to have that kind of outing, as the Oklahoma Sooners are on a whole different level. OU ranks first nationally in scoring (8.82 runs per game) and second in ERA (1.01). This isn’t a team that TTU is going to be able to make a few mistakes with and rally. If you give the Sooners a chance, they will run-rule you before you can even recover. It’s happened time and time again this season, and I’m afraid Texas Tech might get to witness that a couple of times this weekend.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
Texas Tech at #1 OklahomaApr 6 (Thu)6:00 PM CTNorman, OKESPN+
Texas Tech at #1 OklahomaApr 7 (Fri)6:00 PM CTNorman, OKESPN+
Texas Tech at #1 OklahomaApr 8 (Sat)1:00 PM CTNorman, OKESPN+

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA WINS SERIES, 3-0

 

#2 Oklahoma State (32-3, 3-0) at Kansas (19-14, 1-2)

Oklahoma State took last weekend off from Big 12 play, but suffered its first loss in nearly a month as #25 Wichita State took down the Cowgirls at home, 8-7. Now, OSU will try to rally for a three-game series against the Jayhawks, who stole a game from #22 Baylor last weekend. Oklahoma State’s offense is led by Rachel Becker, and the Cowgirls are averaging 7.09 runs per game (eighth nationally). The defense ranks third nationally in fielding (.983) and the pitching staff ranks 15th in ERA (1.83) and third in shutouts (16). OSU should win this series without much resistance, especially with a one-game losing streak fresh on their minds.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
#2 Oklahoma State at KansasApr 6 (Thu)5:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+
#2 Oklahoma State at KansasApr 7 (Fri)5:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+
#2 Oklahoma State at KansasApr 8 (Sat)12:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA STATE WINS SERIES, 3-0

 

#10 Texas (30-8-1, 3-3) at Iowa State (12-19, 1-5)

Texas and Iowa State are both coming off of series losses in Big 12 play, with the Longhorns being swept by Oklahoma, and the Cyclones dropping two of three against Texas Tech. In most scenarios, I would say that the home team in a situation like this has the upper hand, but Texas and Iowa State aren’t equal foes. By all accounts, Texas looks to be a legitimate threat to make the Women’s College World Series again this season. Meanwhile, the Cyclones are seven games below .500 and might be even further behind after this weekend’s events. Texas should sweep Iowa State, but any inconsistency from the Longhorns could make a game or two interesting.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
#10 Texas at Iowa StateApr 6 (Thu)4:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+
#10 Texas at Iowa StateApr 7 (Fri)4:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+
#10 Texas at Iowa StateApr 8 (Sat)1:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+

PREDICTION: TEXAS WINS SERIES, 3-0

#22 Baylor (27-9, 2-4) at #5 Tennessee (29-3, 10-2)

During their week off from Big 12 play, the Baylor Bears will head to Knoxville, Tennessee for a four-game non-conference week. There, the Bears will play the fifth-ranked Lady Volunteers, who have one of the best pitching staffs in the country. With 17 shoutouts (second nationally) and a 1.01 ERA (third nationally), the Lady Vols can win games with defense. Meanwhile, Baylor’s 10 shutouts (22nd nationally) and 1.73 ERA (10th nationally) aren’t too shabby either. In two games against Tennessee, expect the Bears to play up to their competition and show that they can hang with the best. However, I expect them to come up short against Tennessee and take care of business against Mercer.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
#22 Baylor vs. MercerApr 6 (Thu)9:00 AM CTKnoxville, TNN/A
#22 Baylor vs. #5 TennesseeApr 6 (Thu)2:00 PM CTKnoxville, TNN/A
#22 Baylor vs. MercerApr 7 (Fri)9:00 AM CTKnoxville, TNN/A
#22 Baylor vs. #5 TennesseeApr 7 (Fri)11:30 AM CTKnoxville, TNN/A

PREDICTION: BAYLOR GOES 2-2

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