2024 Big 12 Softball Week 2 Schedule and Preview

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

The first weekend of the 2024 season brought all kinds of answers, surprises, and major developments in the sport of softball.

We saw two Big 12 programs run rule No. 8 UCLA, Oklahoma extend its NCAA-record winning streak to 57 games, and several Big 12 contenders look as-advertised on opening weekend.

Now, it’s time to see which teams can settle into a groove and start to build some momentum ahead of what should be an amazing conference race.

The eyes of the softball world will shift to Clearwater, Florida, and we will too, with three Big 12 teams taking part in the Clearwater Invitational. Let’s take a look at what’s on the docket around the league this week!

 

Oklahoma took down two top 10 opponents to get through the opening weekend unscathed and an extra-inning scare against Washington required them to dig deep to get a victory. Overall, it was a good weekend for the Sooners, but there were some uncharacteristic errors from the defense. Look for OU to clean those up as they have a manageable weekend to follow up in Week 2.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
Central Arkansas Feb 16 (Fri) 3:30 pm. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+
(RV) McNeese State Feb 16 (Fri) 6:00 p.m. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+
Lamar Feb 17 (Sat) 1:30 p.m. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+
(RV) McNeese State Feb 17 (Sat) 6:30 p.m. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+
Central Arkansas Feb 18 (Sun) 11:00 a.m. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+

Outside of a close 3-2 decision against UCLA in their first of two matchups, Texas boat raced its opponents in is first five games, outscoring them 64-5 to this point. In fact, Texas has already saved seven innings, or one full game, because of run rules. The Longhorns were red-hot out the gate and will have a chance to put the sport on notice this weekend in Clearwater. A huge early-season matchup with No. 2 Tennessee might be an early peek at who OU’s biggest competition is for the 2024 national title, and right now my money is on their arch-rivals.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
#2 Tennessee Feb 16 (Fri) 5:00 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL LHN
#9 Stanford Feb 16 (Fri) 8:00 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN2
North Carolina Feb 17 (Sat) 1:00 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN+
#18 Kentucky Feb 17 (Sat) 6:00 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL LHN
Northwestern Feb 18 (Sun) 8:30 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN2

 

Oklahoma State’s pitching staff picked up where it left off last season as Lexi Kilfoyl and Kyra Aycock were fantastic in their first weekend of work. Additionally, the Pokes offense caught fire in the back half of the weekend. Led by Tallen Edwards and Caroline Wang, who have posted identical .615 average thus far, the Cowgirls showed that it has the potential for serious run support, with 39 runs already. This weekend, they’ll have two major challenges with fourth-ranked Georgia and No. 12 LSU waiting in Clearwater.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
#4 Georgia Feb 16 (Fri) 9:00 a.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPNU
Wisconsin Feb 16 (Fri) 2:30 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN+
#12 LSU Feb 17 (Sat) 9:30 a.m. CT Clearwater, FL SECN
Northwestern Feb 17 (Sat) 3:00 p.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN+
Georgia Tech Feb 18 (Sun) 11:30 a.m. CT Clearwater, FL ESPN+

Let’s cut to the chase — last weekend didn’t go the way that anyone around the Baylor softball program had hoped. The Bears enter the 2024 season with more hype than we’ve seen in quite some time, but back-to-back losses to Tennessee, whom they went 2-0 against last season, have some folks pausing. Week 2 is a chance to hit the reset button for Glenn Moore’s group, as they’ll play good competition against McNeese State and a three-game series with No. 23 Louisiana.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
(RV) McNeese State Feb 15 (Thu) 6:00 p.m. CT Lake Charles, LA ESPN+
#23 Louisiana Feb 16 (Fri) 6:00 p.m. CT Lafayette, LA ESPN+
#23 Louisiana Feb 17 (Sat) 4:00 p.m. CT Lafayette, LA ESPN+
#23 Louisiana Feb 18 (Sun) 12:00 p.m. CT Lafayette, LA ESPN+

 

Despite their 4-1 record, I have some immediate concerns with what happened in Orlando last weekend. The Knights dropped a game to UConn, which simply can’t happen if this team is going to compete for a Big 12 title. They’ll get a chance to put that behind them though, as UCF will be one of three Big 12 teams at the Clearwater Invitational, one of the toughest early-season tournaments in the country. Two games against ranked opponents await, giving the Knights a chance to build something after an early hiccup.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
Liberty Feb 14 (Wed) 6:00 p.m. ET Orlando, FL ESPN+
North Carolina Feb 16 (Fri) 2:00 p.m. ET Clearwater, FL ESPN+
Wisconsin Feb 16 (Fri) 8:00 p.m. ET Clearwater, FL ESPN+
#18 Kentucky Feb 17 (Sat) 1:00 p.m. ET Clearwater, FL ESPN+
Northwestern Feb 18 (Sun) 12:30 p.m. ET Clearwater, FL ESPN+
#20 UCLA Feb 18 (Sun) 6:00 p.m. ET Clearwater, FL ESPN+

BYU started off the 2024 season as it has so many times before with an impressive showing in Week 1, including a win over Ole Miss. However, much bigger tests await this week as the Cougars prepare for a trip to Tempe, Arizona. There, BYU will face future Big 12 foe Arizona State, but a matchup with No. 17 Virginia Tech is the game to watch. VT was the only team to keep pace with Oklahoma’s power-hitting last season, statistically speaking, and will provide a huge challenge for the Cougars in Week 2.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
Arizona State Feb 15 (Thu) 5:30 p.m. MST Tempe, AZ Pac-12+
#17 Virginia Tech Feb 16 (Fri) 10:30 a.m. MST Tempe, AZ
Illinois State Feb 16 (Fri) 1:15 p.m. MST Tempe, AZ
Memphis Feb 17 (Sat) 10:30 a.m. MST Tempe, AZ
Cal State Fullerton Feb 17 (Sat) 1:15 p.m. MST Tempe, AZ

While 3-2 might not look like much, I was very impressed with what I saw from Texas Tech last week in Tallahassee. The Red Raiders took Florida State to the wire in their own ballpark and also split two games with Charlotte, who will certainly be a bracket-buster contender come May. If TTU can stack five wins this weekend and show the ability to pull away from lower-tier competition, it would be a huge step for the program in my eyes.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
Sam Houston Feb 16 (Fri) 6:30 p.m. CT San Marcos, TX
Tulsa Feb 17 (Sat) 10:00 a.m. CT San Marcos, TX
Texas State Feb 17 (Sat) 12:15 p.m. CT San Marcos, TX
N. Colorado Feb 18 (Sun) 10:00 a.m. CT San Marcos, TX
Texas State Feb 18 (Sun) 12:15 p.m. CT San Marcos, TX

Kansas probably had the most disappointing weekend of any team in the conference, dropping games to Oregon, Indiana, and UCF, plus finishing in a tie with Western Kentucky. The Jayhawks struggled mightily with consistency last season and early indications are that it could be a problem again. This week, KU has games against UC Riverside and four Big Ten schools that are on a similar level as the Jayhawks. I need to see something from this team early on, or it will be difficult not to assume that last season’s results will repeat themselves.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
UC Riverside Feb 15 (Thu) 3:30 p.m. CT Leesburg, FL FloSoftball
Penn State Feb 16 (Fri) 1:00 p.m. CT Leesburg, FL FloSoftball
Illinois Feb 16 (Fri) 3:30 p.m. CT Leesburg, FL FloSoftball
Iowa Feb 17 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. CT Leesburg, FL FloSoftball
Ohio State Feb 17 (Sat) 11:30 a.m. CT Leesburg, FL FloSoftball

Iowa State played the same opponents that Oklahoma did last weekend and came out of it with a 2-2 record, their losses coming to the No. 6 and No. 10 teams in this week’s Top 25. This week, Iowa State will head to Las Vegas (NV) for the UNLV Desert Classic, where they will be one of the top teams. The Cyclones should have no problems with getting through the weekend with one or fewer losses, and if they can’t, the early panic button that we hit last season just might start to sound once again.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
UCSB Feb 16 (Fri) 2:30 p.m. CT Las Vegas, NV
UNLV Feb 16 (Fri) 8:00 p.m. CT Las Vegas, NV
UCSB Feb 17 (Sat) 12:00 p.m. CT Las Vegas, NV
Bradley Feb 17 (Sat) 2:30 p.m. CT Las Vegas, NV
Bradley Feb 18 (Sun) 11:30 a.m. CT Las Vegas, NV

Last weekend, Houston hosted Colgate, Indiana State, and Rutgers in the Houston Invitational, where it went 4-1. However, the lone loss, a 10-2 (F/6) shellacking at the hands of Rutgers was concerning, as the defensive woes that we saw last season reared their head again. The Cougars will once again be in the comfort of their own stadium and will have favorable matchups all weekend. If they’re going to build some serious confidence for the year, it’s got to start right now.

OPPONENT DATE TIME LOCATION NETWORK
UMass Feb 16 (Fri) 4:30 p.m. CT Houston, TX ESPN+
NW State Feb 16 (Fri) 7:00 p.m. CT Houston, TX ESPN+
Nicholls Feb 17 (Sat) 4:30 p.m. CT Houston, TX
Nicholls Feb 17 (Sat) 7:00 p.m. CT Houston, TX
NW State Feb 18 (Sun) 11:30 a.m. CT Houston, TX
UTSA Feb 18 (Sun) 2:00 p.m. CT Houston, TX