OU, Texas Separating from the Rest of the League Early On

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

The second weekend of the 2024 softball season has come and gone, bringing another weekend’s worth of action to the table when trying to figure out the Big 12 race.

Oklahoma proved a steady winner once again, stretching their NCAA-record winning streak to 62 games against overmatched competitions. The Sooners won three of their five games via run rule this weekend and allowed just one run in five games this weekend.

Texas, once again, made a statement in Week 2 despite having three of its five games canceled in the Clearwater Invitational. The two games that they did play — back-to-back contests against No. 2 Tennessee and No. 9 Stanford — ended in victories for the Longhorns’ who are now 7-0 and likely the No. 2 team in the country in this week’s poll.

 

Oklahoma State didn’t have as good a time in Clearwater, as they picked up their first two losses of the season against No. 4 Georgia and No. 12 LSU, despite leading until late in both contests. Baylor started its weekend series against No. 23 Louisiana off with a loss but battled back to win the three-game series and get back on track ahead of the Mary Nutter Classic.

The rest of the Big 12 showed mixed results, as there’s not a very clear line yet where the contenders end for this year’s league race.

Houston turned in a perfect 6-0 weekend to move to 10-1 but has yet to play anyone worth their salt, and their lone loss was in run-rule fashion to Rutgers. Meanwhile, Iowa State (7-3) and Kansas (4-5-1) seem to be struggling from inconsistency again thus far, though the Jayhawks are clearly the team stumbling the most out of the gate.

 

We were set to learn a lot about UCF (6-2) this weekend, but canceled games against Kentucky, Northwestern, and UCLA will force us to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, BYU (8-2) played a ranked team well and finished their weekend strong after a 0-2 start on Thursday and Friday. Texas Tech had the opposite weekend, starting off with four straight victories but finishing up their week with an 8-1 loss to Texas State.

Here’s a look at how each team in the conference fared this weekend, in this week’s Big 12 Softball Weekend Recap.

TAKEAWAY: Oklahoma’s pitching staff looks like the backbone of the team to this point in the season, with a .50 ERA and .151 batting average.

  • Central Arkansas – W, 9-0 (F/5)
  • (RV) McNeese State – W, 8-1
  • Lamar – W, 8-0 (F/5)
  • (RV) McNeese State – W, 3-0
  • Central Arkansas – W, 8-0 (F/5)

TAKEAWAY: Texas’ offense has been nuclear through two weeks, with a team average of .415 and a .731 slugging percentage.

  • #2 Tennessee – W, 2-1
  • #9 Stanford – W, 9-2
  • North Carolina – Canceled
  • #18 Kentucky – Canceled
  • #22 Northwestern – Canceled

TAKEAWAY: Oklahoma State has shown issues with closing out games in the postseason in recent years, and those struggles showed up on the big stage this weekend at the Clearwater Invitational. The Cowgirls led in both of their losses but gave up seven unanswered runs against Georgia and lost in walk-off fashion to LSU.

  • #4 Georgia – L, 4-7
  • Wisconsin – W, 9-5
  • #12 LSU – L, 6-7
  • #22 Northwestern – Canceled
  • Georgia Tech – Canceled

 

TAKEAWAY: Baylor’s offense found some life this weekend as Shaylon Govan went 6-for-7 at the plate and seven Bears had multi-hit games against No. 23 Louisiana.

  • (RV) McNeese State – W, 3-2
  • #23 Louisiana – L, 1-4
  • #23 Louisiana – W, 6-0
  • #23 Louisiana – W 3-2

TAKEAWAY: UCF’s offense set a program record with 25 hits in their 21-9 win over Wisconsin, eclipsing the 20-run mark for the third time in program history and for the first time since 2003.

  • Liberty – W, 7-5
  • North Carolina – L, 1-2
  • Wisconsin – W, 21-9 (F/6)
  • #18 Kentucky – Canceled
  • #20 UCLA – Canceled

TAKEAWAY: Former UCF transfer Maddie Bejarano has been the lightning rod for BYU’s offense through two weeks, going a team-best 13-for-26 (.500) at the plate with 11 RBI and team-leading eight BB.

  • Arizona State – L, 6-10
  • #17 Virginia Tech – L, 1-2
  • Illinois State – W, 10-0 (F/5)
  • Memphis – W, 12-5
  • Cal State Fullerton – W, 6-5

TAKEAWAY: Houston’s top five batters through 11 games have all seen at least 28 plate appearances and are batting .429 or better, with Kennedy Thomas leading the way, going 15-for-30 (.500) through 11 games. The Cougars have amassed 94 runs (8.55 runs per game) through two weeks.

  • UTSA – W, 15-3 (F/5)
  • Nicholls – W, 5-1
  • UMass – W, 11-3 (F/5)
  • Northwestern State – W, 8-7
  • Northwestern State – W, 13-0 (F/5)

TAKEAWAY: Senior Arianna Villa is the only Red Raider to record double-digit hits (10) on the year and leads TTU with a .370 average. Texas Tech’s offense has been stagnant for stretches through 10 games and will need to gain some consistency in the coming weeks to be taken seriously as a contender in the Big 12.

  • Sam Houston – W, 4-2
  • Tulsa – W, 3-2
  • Texas State – W, 4-1
  • N. Colorado – W, 10-9
  • Texas State – L, 1-8

TAKEAWAY: Saya Swain has established herself as the Ace for the Cyclones already, going 4-1 so far on the year with a 2.07 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 23.2 IP.

  • UCSB – W, 3-2
  • UNLV – L, 1-7
  • USCB – W, 11-9
  • Bradley  W, 10-7
  • Bradley  W, 7-6 (F/8)

TAKEAWAY: Katie Brooks has been the bright spot for a struggling Kansas team, going 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 25.1 IP. Unfortunately, Kasey Hamilton has struggled, going 0-4 with a 4.61 ERA and 18 earned runs allowed in 27.1 IP.

  • UC Riverside – L, 5-7
  • Coastal Carolina – W, 4-1
  • Penn State – L, 4-5
  • Illinois – W, 8-7
  • Iowa – Canceled
  • Ohio State – Canceled

Post-Week 2 Big 12 Softball Power Rankings

Rank Team Record
TIER 1 (WCWS Contenders)
1. Oklahoma 9-0
2. Texas 7-0
TIER 2 (Big 12 Contenders)
3. Oklahoma State 6-2
4. Baylor 3-3
5. BYU 8-2
6. UCF 6-2
TIER 3 (Not Quite There)
7. Houston 10-1
8. Texas Tech 7-3
9. Iowa State 6-3
10. Kansas 4-5-1