Baylor Bears

Big 12 Softball Preview: The Weekend We’ve All Been Waiting For

Syndication: The Oklahoman

Week 11 of the 2023 college softball season is here, finally giving us two of the Big 12’s most anticipated series of the year.

This weekend, No. 1 Oklahoma will head to Waco to take on No. 19 Baylor in hopes of avenging its only loss of the season. Back on February 19, the Bears took down OU 4-3 at Getterman Stadium, and the Sooners haven’t lost a game since, winning 31 straight.

Meanwhile, 95 miles south in Austin, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns will play host to No. 3 Oklahoma State, who enters the series on a two-game losing streak. In a midweek battle against No. 20 Wichita State, the Cowgirls fell 3-1, being swept by the Shockers in the regular season. That loss was preceded by a 3-2 (11 inn.) loss to Iowa State just two days prior. Could this be Texas’ chance to finally beat the Cowgirls in a regular season series?

 

Texas Tech will hit the road to Lawrence this weekend as well, while Iowa State takes a week off from Big 12 play.

Here’s a look at all the Week 11 action from across the Big 12.

#1 Oklahoma (39-1, 9-0) at #19 Baylor (34-10, 4-5)

While it might seem obvious, Oklahoma has had this series circled on the calendar for about two months now. Dari Orme and the Bears took advantage of some early-season cold bats and sent the Sooners home with their only loss of the year back in February, but things have changed since then. Oklahoma owns the offensive stats once again and the bats are on fire. Meanwhile, Baylor’s pitching staff, which has been among the nation’s best, is coming off its roughest weekend of the year after giving up 26 runs to Texas Tech. OU’s trio of Nicole May (0.51), Alex Storako (0.80), and Jordy Bahl (1.27) hold the top three spots in terms of ERA in the Big 12. I expect Oklahoma to be at its best this weekend, and that’s bad news for the hometown Bears.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
#1 Oklahoma at #19 BaylorApr 21 (Fri)6:30 PM CTWaco, TXESPN+
#1 Oklahoma at #19 BaylorApr 22 (Sat)2:00 PM CTWaco, TXESPN+
#1 Oklahoma at #19 BaylorApr 23 (Sun)1:00 PM CTWaco, TXESPN+

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA WINS SERIES, 3-0

 

#3 Oklahoma State (39-5, 8-1) at #7 Texas (36-9-1, 8-4)

In terms of Big 12 standings, this is the biggest series of the weekend bar none. Oklahoma State enters this game in a peculiar spot, coming off back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Wichita State. The Cowgirls seem vulnerable right now, but Oklahoma State has owned the Longhorns in recent years. Texas hasn’t beaten Oklahoma State in a regular season series since 2016, and this Oklahoma State team might be the best it’s had when the bats are hot. If Texas could pull off the improbable sweep it would put them in second place in the conference, with Oklahoma State still having OU on the schedule. However, I just can’t pick OSU to lose five-straight games. The Longhorns will win a game this weekend and make it interesting, but the bragging rights will stay in Stillwater.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
#3 Oklahoma State at #7 TexasApr 20 (Thu)8:00 PM CTAustin, TXESPN2
#3 Oklahoma State at #7 TexasApr 21 (Fri)4:30 PM CTAustin, TXLHN
#3 Oklahoma State at #7 TexasApr 22 (Sat)12:00 PM CTAustin, TXLHN

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA STATE WINS SERIES, 2-1

Texas Tech (29-17, 3-9) at Kansas (20-19, 2-7)

While this series might not have the luster that the ones above it have, this is a big series as well. Texas Tech is likely on the outside looking in when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, but the Red Raiders have a chance to secure their spot above the Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament seeding. The Jayhawks will play Oklahoma next week and close with Iowa State, while Texas Tech has just KU and Oklahoma State left on the schedule. If the Red Raiders win this series, it would give them the head-to-head over Kansas, and five wins in the conference. That would mean that KU would need to find three wins in its final six Big 12 games to draw even, and that is a tall task.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
Texas Tech at KansasApr 21 (Fri)5:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+
Texas Tech at KansasApr 22 (Sat)2:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+
Texas Tech at KansasApr 23 (Sun)12:00 PM CTLawrence, KSESPN+

PREDICTION: TEXAS TECH WINS SERIES, 2-1

 

Iowa State (16-25, 2-10)

The Cyclones are riding high, having won three consecutive games for just the third time this season, one of which came over No. 3 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Now, they’ll have a chance to beat a season-best four-game winning streak as they take on Colorado State in a pair of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. While the Cyclones might be stuck with a bottom-two seed in the Big 12 Tournament, getting to 20-25 by the end of the weekend would be an incredible accomplishment considering where this team was two weeks ago. They might not get there, but they’ll get close.

GAMEDATETIMELOCATIONNETWORK
Colorado State at Iowa StateApr 21 (Fri)1:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+
Colorado State at Iowa StateApr 21 (Fri)3:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+
Colorado State at Iowa StateApr 22 (Sat)11:00 AM CTAmes, IAESPN+
Colorado State at Iowa StateApr 22 (Sat)2:00 PM CTAmes, IAESPN+

Prediction: Iowa State Goes 3-1

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