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SoonerTimes Home > SoonerTimes > OU Women's Sports > Sooner Softball Begins in 1 Month !


Sooner Softball Begins in 1 Month !
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OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Mon Jan 6th, 2020 09:40 pm

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A month from today, the 2020 Oklahoma Sooners will play their first game of the year against Nevada at 6 PM in Puerto Vallarta.

The first classes for the spring semester is next Monday, the 13th of February. I don’t really know if the softball team is already in Norman practicing or not. If they are, they have 4.5 weeks to get ready for games that count. If they are not, they have 3.5 weeks to get ready. They have to get ready to hit 65 mph pitches and ready to field one-hop hot grounders in the infield in that time frame. I trust that they have been working since their fall season ended on November 1st and will arrive or arrived at their first practice with that ‘Championship Mindset’, we as Sooner fans, respect greatly.

In a change this year, the Sooners will enjoy playing at home the last three weeks of the out-of-conference (O-O-C) schedule prior to the starting of the Big 12 schedule. To start the season, the Sooners are returning to the Puerto Vallarta Challenge to open the season after a couple of year’s absence. They follow that with a weekend at the Hildenbrand Tourney in Tucson and Arizona University. The O-O-C traveling season will conclude with the highly competitive Mary Nutter Tournament in California. The three weeks of home-cooking follows that opening trio of weekends on the road.

Another change is within the Big 12 schedule for Oklahoma. The first Big 12 weekend has the Sooners playing the Texas LongDucks in 3 games at Norman. (Yes, I am still upset about all the transfers to Texas.) Playing Texas to open conference play will create a great deal of excitement as conference play begins. Two weekends later the Sooners travel to Waco to play what should be an very improved Baylor team. The Big 12 season for the Sooners ends the first weekend of May with OU hosting 2 of 3 in Norman against Oklahoma State after hosting Texas Tech the weekend before. The Sooners also travel to Iowa State and host Kansas to complete their Big 12 schedule.

Schedule Analysis for the Sooners
When the schedule was announced the first thing I tried to review was the competition level of the teams. As we all know, the road to the World Series is largely based upon the team’s record and the perceived value of the opponents on that schedule. To be successful in the post-season, Ii is very important to be ranked in the Top 16 teams in RPI so a team gets selected to 'host' a Regional tournament and even a step more important to be in the Top 8 to potentially host the Super Regional. If you look at the schedules for the ‘top 25 or so’ college softball programs this year you find a consistent theme. All of them play an average of about 18 or 19 games against the other programs. The best teams play the better teams to prove they deserve to be in the Top 8/16 at the end of the year.

Two conferences seem to have a built in advantage because their conference is always considered to be very strong. The SEC conference and the PAC-12 have a traditionally strong base of teams. The SEC has Florida, Alabama, LSU and a group of 3 to 5 other teams that are historically or will be good. The PAC-12 has UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Arizona State that are traditionally strong teams. This year the Big 12 may also have the depth that will provide an advantage to the teams. Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and possibly Baylor could be in those top 25 or so teams in the country. Additionally, the Big 10 conference could also have strong teams with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and possibly Ohio State to become a potential 4th strong conference.
- Each SEC team has at least 6, most have 12 and a couple have 15 games against ‘top 25’ teams within the conference. (The SEC schedule is not balanced as you can see.)
- The PAC-12 has 12 such games within the conference.
- The Big 12, this year, probably has 12 such games.
- The Big 10 will have 9 perhaps 12 such games depending on how strong those teams are.
- The ACC and other conferences have no more than 6 games against ‘top 25’ teams within their conference.

The greater number of tough games you have in conference, the better your RPI will be, especially with success.

With the conference competition set, the out-of-conference schedule provides an additional opportunity for teams to set themselves apart and prove their strength. A select group of teams take advantage of that portion of the schedule each year.

This year that group is led by these teams;
- Florida and Louisiana Lafayette each have 13 games against ‘top 25’ caliber O-O-C teams.
- Florida State has 12.
- Northwestern has 10 or 11. (The number depends on if they play OU twice in Norman or just once.)
- Washington, Arizona State, Alabama, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech all have 9 such games.
- Texas has 8 while Auburn ad Baylor have 7 games against ‘top 25’ O-O-C teams.
- Oklahoma has 6 or 7 such games. (2 with Kentucky and 1 or 2 with Northwestern, and 1 each with Arizona, Washington, and Wisconsin.)

If you look at the RPI value and the how the rankings affect the strength of each team, playing one of the ‘top 25’ teams usually helps you even if you lose the game. If you win the game it helps you more. If you win the majority of these games, it helps even more. The fourteen (14) teams listed above have an advantage based upon their 0-0-C schedule. This advantage helps the teams to earn the coveted ‘host’ role for a Regional and Super Regional tournaments.

What does all this mean for Oklahoma in 2020?
For Oklahoma, the O-O-C games against ‘top 25’ teams are very important. It is critical for OU to play very well in these 6 or 7 games. With 3 or 4 of the games being in Norman, the importance of these games are even more important. A team needs to win those home games. So the games against Northwestern and Kentucky are a key. The remaining neutral games against Arizona, Washington and Wisconsin are also very important. In what is a rebuilding year, the Sooners need to win a majority of these games this year to be considered as Top 8/16 team. A record of 5-2 in these games would help the Sooners a great deal.

The remaining O-O-C games include 4 teams that were in a D1 Regional tournaments in 2019 (BYU, Texas A&M, Seattle and Houston). Another 9 teams had records of .500 or better last season. Only 4 teams had a losing record last year. The O-O-C schedule will require the Sooners to play well in almost each game to be successful.
Within the Big 12 schedule, the four 3-game series' against the strong teams are very important. As explained earlier, the home games are very important (Texas, Texas Tech and 2 games against OSU) to win. Winning the road series at Baylor and the game at Stillwater would help a great deal also.

The dominance of Oklahoma over the Big 12 softball teams the last 4 years (70-2) is amazing. In those 4 years only Baylor and Kansas have defeated the Sooners. The Sooners have not lost a Big 8 or Big 12 series since the 2011 series against Missouri (I think). While I would like the Sooners to be able to keep the numerous Big 8/12 softball winning streaks alive, we probably will not see Oklahoma go undefeated through conference play this year. I think they need to have a conference record of 14-4 or better to win or tie for the regular season crown. Texas and Oklahoma State will probably be just as good as they were last year. Texas Tech could be improved while Baylor will be much better in 2020. I do not expect the Sooners to lose a series, but there will be some very good softball and tough games to play within the Big 12 this year.

Expected regular season record?
With 18/19 games against ‘top 25’ teams the Sooners need to be at least 13-6, maybe 12-7 in those games. In the other 34/33 games, the Sooners should not lose more than a couple of games hopefully. If the Sooners could finish with a 44-8 record for the 2020 season prior to the Big 12 tournament, I think the Top 16 and perhaps the Top 8 in RPI would be guaranteed. If the Sooner record reaches 10 or more losses, the Top 8 may be too much to expect however.

2020 should be a very good season for the fans as we watch a new talented group of freshman join the upper class players and take the field for the Sooners. The results of early games against Arizona, Washington and Wisconsin during the first three weekends will be very interesting to see. When the Sooners return to Norman, the team strengths should start to be seen. There will also be some things for them to work on while they play at home prior to the Big 12 potion of the season.

The season is one month away, get your “Boomer Sooner” voices in shape!

Boomer Sooner!

Last edited on Tue Jan 7th, 2020 01:45 pm by OUBeliever56

Old Sooner
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 Posted: Thu Jan 9th, 2020 09:26 am

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56 - Thank you for an excellent analysis of schedule. I like our chances.
Boomer Sooner!

BlackwellSooner
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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2020 11:38 pm

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Looking forward to watching a lot of Sooner Softball this year!  Not in person, since Blackwell is about 2 hours drive, so will be watching on TV.
Which brings me to this point:  I know that some of their games will be televised, looking at SoonerSports schedule (it's too early at this point to get any details, I know, but based on previous years, the women are on TV such as FSOK or FSN about 30 to 50% of the time.I haven't subscribed to SoonerVision in the past, so here is the question to those of you who would know: What percentage of the un-televised games does SoonerVision usually pick up and show?  And how does it work, are the games usually "streamed"?  What does the subscription typically cost?

Any and all info much appreciated...

OU_Tom
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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2020 11:54 pm

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Last week was the first week of practice.

https://twitter.com/OU_Softball/status/1218601750720065538?s=19

cclift38
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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2020 11:23 pm

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I’m very interested to see starting lineup and batting lineup with some new faces.

cclift38
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 Posted: Mon Jan 20th, 2020 01:48 am

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So anyone want to predict opening day starting lineup?

My guess for what its worth. Assuming Mendes is out at this time.

1. Snow 2B
2. Boone CF
3. Alo RF
4. Green LF
5. Hansen 1B
6. E. Flores 3B
7. A. Flores DP
8. Elam C
9. Lyons SS

Pitcher G. Juarez

I could see Donihoo in DP role also but I think Flores power will give her the edge.

Last edited on Mon Jan 20th, 2020 01:49 am by cclift38

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Mon Jan 20th, 2020 02:32 pm

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This lineup is based upon the lineups used in the fall by Coach Gasso.

1. Taylon Snow (JR) 2B
2. Jocelyn Alo (JR) LF
3. Grace Green RF (SO)
(Green only played RF in the fall.)
4. Grace Lyons (SO) SS
5. Kinzie Hansen (FR) 1B
6. Eliyah Flores (JR) 3B
7. Lynnsie Elam (JR) C
8. Mackenzie Donihoo (FR) DP
OR (These two may alternate for a while)
Aliyah Flores (FR) DP
9. Rylie Boone (FR) CF

Subs: Kinsey Koeltzow (SO) C-OF, Raylee Pogue (FR) OF
Injured: Nicole Mendes (SR) OF

Pitching:
The offenses of the teams that OU plays in Puerto Vallarta are probably ranked like this:
Best: BYU (Sat G2)
2nd: George Washington (Sat G1)
3rd: Long Beach State (Fri)
4th: Nevada (Thurs)

Therefore, I think a freshman will start against Nevada on Thursday. I would guess that it will be Brooke Vestal RHP (Red-FR). Giselle Juarez LHP (SR) and Shannon Saile RHP (SR) will be ready to go in the bullpen if there is trouble. If Vestal stays out of trouble, Olivia Rains RHP (FR) may pitch an inning before Juarez or Saile finish.

Another freshman pitcher, Macy McAdoo RHP (FR), will start against Long Beach St on Friday. Juarez and Saile will be ready to go in the bullpen if there is trouble. If McAdoo stays out of trouble, Alanna Thiede LHP (FR) may pitch an inning before Juarez or Saile finish up.

Saile will start in G1 on Saturday against George Washington and Juarez will start against BYU in G2 on Saturday.

Boomer Sooner!

Last edited on Sat Jan 25th, 2020 12:58 pm by OUBeliever56


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