Superstar senior Tiare Jennings making position change for Oklahoma softball

Tiare Jennings is already a three-time All-American and three-time national champ at Oklahoma, but now she's taking on the toughest position in the infield with Grace Lyons gone.

Oklahoma's Tiare Jennings (23)
Oklahoma's Tiare Jennings (23) / SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

In each of her three seasons in Norman, Tiare Jennings has led the Sooners to a national championship. Now as she and head coach Patty Gasso look to make it four straight, the star second baseman is switching over to shortstop. 

The three-time All-American has started 183 games in the Oklahoma infield with the overwhelming majority coming at second base, but with the graduation of shortstop Grace Lyons, Jennings, more known for her bat than her glove, is taking on the challenge of a position change. 

Lyons was the Rawlings Gold Glove winner at shortstop in 2023 and won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, 2022, and 2023. It will be tough for Jennings to replicate that type of defense, but she made just one error in 2023 and that included a few spot-starts at short. 

The Sooners are riding a 53-game win streak into their season opener today in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico at 10:30 a.m. CT against Utah Valley and later Duke at 1:00 p.m. CT. Even if the infield defense takes a step back for the 2024 campaign, getting Jennings’ record-breaking bat into the lineup is what’s most important. 

Jenning has hit 73 home runs in her three-year career and has a career-slugging percentage of .907. Her production tailed off a bit during the regular season last year with career lows in home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, and slugging, but she became the all-time WCWS leader in RBI with 29. 

As for who will slot into second base with Jennings on the left side of the infield, Oklahoma has three primary candidates Avery Hodge, Quincee Lilio, and Alynah Torres. Gasso plans to platoon the three players at second, likely until one emerges as the clear starter.

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