Big 12 Softball Preview: Baylor at Texas Tech Highlights Weekend
We’ve reached Week 10 of the 2023 College Softball season and the Big 12 race is in full swing. The tiers of favorites, contenders, and pretenders have become clear over the last several weeks, with each tier playing out remotely close to how we expected.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are leading the way with undefeated conference records, while Texas is sitting in third place all alone. The biggest series thus far, as far as the conference standings are concerned, will be played in Lubbock this weekend as Baylor and Texas Tech have proven to be vastly better teams than they were a season ago.
The Bears and Red Raiders highlight a weekend that otherwise matches teams near the top of the standing with their counterparts. Texas will play host to a struggling Kansas team, while Oklahoma State will host an Iowa State team that never got off the runway in 2023.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s series and how we see them playing out.
Iowa State (13-23, 1-8) at #2 Oklahoma State (36-3, 6-0)
Oklahoma State has outscored opponents 28-7 since their loss last week and appears to be playing some of its best softball heading into the weekend. With a four-game winning streak, the Cowgirls are looking to continue building momentum into a backloaded schedule with Texas and Oklahoma still on the docket. This weekend, Iowa State comes to town and the Cyclones just simply haven’t been good. After being swept in dominant fashion against Texas, Iowa State had a mini get-right series against South Dakota State. Instead, they managed to split the two games. Oklahoma State should dominate this series, and it could get ugly a couple of times.
|Iowa State at #2 Oklahoma State||Apr 14 (Fri)||6:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
|Iowa State at #2 Oklahoma State||Apr 15 (Sat)||2:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
|Iowa State at #2 Oklahoma State||Apr 16 (Sun)||12:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA STATE WINS SERIES, 3-0
Kansas (19-17, 1-5) at #8 Texas (33-8-1, 6-3)
Texas followed up its sweep at the hands of Oklahoma with a sweep of its own, outscoring Iowa State 25-2 over a three-game series. The Longhorns were dominant and resembled a team that made it all the way to a championship series last season. Now, with just three series left in Big 12 play, the Longhorns have Kansas to deal with. KU has lost five straight and lacked energy against Oklahoma State after getting oh-so-close to a win in Game 1. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, I think Texas has figured out a winning formula, and they won’t lose it against Kansas, with Oklahoma State and Baylor coming up next. Give me the Longhorns to take this series without much resistance.
|Kansas at #8 Texas||Apr 14 (Fri)||6:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|Kansas at #8 Texas||Apr 15 (Sat)||4:30 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|Kansas at #8 Texas||Apr 16 (Sun)||12:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
#18 Baylor (31-9, 2-4) at Texas Tech (28-15, 2-7)
This is the big series of the weekend and one that I’ve had circled for a few weeks now. Texas Tech has had quite an impressive turnaround this season but hasn’t been able to secure that signature win just yet. Meanwhile, Baylor has a slew of signature wins under its belt, giving #1 Oklahoma its only loss of the season and winners of three-straight ranked matchups, with two victories over No. 4 Tennessee and a win over No. 25 Louisiana on Tuesday night. Right now, I view Baylor as a legitimate threat to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament next month and Texas Tech as an overachiever that will wilt down the stretch. This series will either confirm those notions or force me to see the Big 12 race differently.
|#18 Baylor at Texas Tech||Apr 14 (Fri)||6:30 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|#18 Baylor at Texas Tech||Apr 15 (Sat)||2:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||ESPN+|
|#18 Baylor at Texas Tech||Apr 16 (Sun)||12:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||ESPN+|
PREDICTION: BAYLOR WINS SERIES: 2-1
#1 Oklahoma (37-1, 9-0)
The top-ranked Sooners handled #12 LSU on the road Tuesday night with a 3-0 victory. The star of the evening was sophomore pitcher Jordy Bahl, who went a full 7.0 IP with 13 Ks, one walk, and just three hits in the shutout, Oklahoma’s 23rd of the season. With the rotation of Bahl, Storako, and May, Oklahoma can go the distance in a weekend series without showing more than one arm a game. That’s scary, considering the firepower they have offensively. The Sooners are off this weekend from Big 12 play, and will head northeast for the Miami (OH) tournament. Barring any major surprises, the Sooners should return to Big 12 play with a 40-1 record to take on Baylor in Waco.
|#1 Oklahoma vs. Oakland||Apr 14 (Fri)||10:00 AM CT||Oxford, OH||N/A|
|#1 Oklahoma vs. Louisville||Apr 15 (Sat)||4:00 PM CT||Oxford, OH||N/A|
|#1 Oklahoma vs. Miami (OH)||Apr 16 (Sun)||9:00 AM CT||Oxford, OH||N/A|