NORMAN — Winner of the last seven regular season Big 12 championships, the Oklahoma softball team topped the 2019 Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league announced Thursday.
For the third year in a row, each of the other six head coaches selected the Sooners as No. 1. Baylor received the other first-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
This marks the seventh straight year and 10th in the last 11 that OU has topped the conference’s preseason poll. The Sooners received 36 points in this year’s poll and were followed by Texas with 29 and Baylor with 26.
Oklahoma State was selected fourth (23 points) and Texas Tech took fifth (15 points). Rounding out the poll are Iowa State (12 points) and Kansas (6 points).
Last year, the Sooners became just the second team in Big 12 history to finish undefeated in league play. OU went 18-0 for the best conference finish in school annals. Overall, the Sooners led the nation with a 57-5 record as they made their 12th Women’s College World Series appearance.
Oklahoma returns five All-Big 12 selections from 2018. Returning first-team honorees include senior infielders Shay Knighten and Sydney Romero and sophomore utility player Jocelyn Alo. Senior infielder Caleigh Clifton earned second-team accolades last year, and infielder Eliyah Flores joined Alo on the All-Freshman Team.
Alo was tabbed the NFCA and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and head coach Patty Gasso was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year for the 11th time.
The Sooners begin their 2019 campaign on Feb. 8 as they take on Syracuse at the GCU Kickoff Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz. Oklahoma will open its home slate March 1-3 as it hosts Oregon State and Louisiana in the Courtyard Marriott Tournament.
2019 BIG 12 SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL
Rank Team Points
1. Oklahoma 36
2. Texas 29
3. Baylor 26
4. Oklahoma State 23
5. Texas Tech 15
6. Iowa State 12
7. Kansas 6
Texas got some help from Oregon. But, their Texas recruiting class wasn't much. They had little coming back other than that freshman leadoff hitter. Had nobody who could drive her home. That was all they had.