Oklahoma softball: Sooners have two weeks to show they're still best team in Big 12


The 2024 edition of Oklahoma softball is three games better that archrival Texas in the overall standings and one game better in the Big 12, but the Sooners are looking up at the Lady Longhorns in the national rankings. Go figure.

That is because Texas took two of three games in the series against OU earlier this month, which dropped Oklahoma out of the top spot in the national rankings.

The three-time defending national champion Sooners have six games remaining in the regular season and none are with Texas, which means that Patty Gasso's group is probably going have to win out or have Texas lose one or more games to claim unprecedented 12th consecutive regular-season conference championship and 16th overall

The Sooners 42-4, 18-3) take their last road trip of the regular season this weekend, traveling to Orlando, Florida, to take on the Central Florida (UCF) Knights (28-18, 10-11). OU finishes the regular season next weekend in what will the final Big 12 matchup with in-state rival Oklahoma State in the regular season.

Texas, the team Oklahoma is chasing in the Big 12, is home this weekend hosting Iowa State, and closes out the regular season at Texas Tech next weekend.

Oklahoma and UCF have played just two games against each other all-time. The Sooners won both games as part of the 2022 NCAA Super Regional in Norman. The Lady Knights are 5-4 at home this season against Big 12 opponents. The Sooners are 7-2 on the road in the Big 12.

Game 1 at the UCF Softball Complex on Friday will start at 5 p.m. CT. Saturday's game will start at 1 p.m. CT followed by a 10 a.m. CT start in Sunday's series finale. The first two games will be streamed on ESPN+. The game on Sunday will be televised on ESPNU.

What fans need to know about the OU-UCF softball series

  • UCF was swept by Baylor last weekend, scoring just one run in the three games and were shut out 1-0 twice. That snapped a 10-game UCF winning streak.
  • Oklahoma leads the Big 12 and all of NCAA Division I softball in hitting (.379 team batting average) and fielding percentage (.985 with just 17 errors in 46 games). The Sooners also lead the Big 12 in pitching (1.56 staff ERA. UCF is fifth in the conference in batting average, fourth in pitching (2.73 ERA) and third in fielding (.978 with 28 errors).
  • Joneisha Rowe leads off and sets the table for the Knights with a team-best .377 batting average and 19 steals. UCF doesn't hit many balls that leave the park, but when it does it is generally off the bat of Jada Cody, Chloe Brooks or Ashleigh Griffin, all with five on the season.
  • Sarah Willis (8-7, 2.47 ERA) and Kaitlyn Fulton (10-4, 2.55) are the two main Knight starters the Sooners can expect to face in the weekend series.
  • Five members of the Oklahoma starting lineup are hitting .400 or better and rank in the top 10 of all Big 12 hitters: Alyssa Brito (.425), Rylie Boone (.424), Jayda Coleman and Kinzie Hansen (both .422) and Tiare Jennings (.406).
  • Four Sooners rank in the top 10 in the conference in home runs: 1. Tiare Jennings (16). 3T. Alyssa Brito, 5. Cydney Sanders (13), 9. Jayda Coleman (10)
  • Sophomore left-hander Kierston Deal has won 10 of her last 11 starts, going 10-0 with a highly impressive 0.42 ERA over her last 50.0 innings pitched, including a no-hitter. Earlier this week she was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week.
  • Deal and Sooner Friday starter Kelly Maxwell rank No, 1 and 2 in the Big 12 opponents batting average (.146 and .159, respectively).