No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 19/22 Baylor one of D1Softball’s must-watch series of the week

The Oklahoma Sooners are on a tear to open Big 12 play.

Through two series, they’re 6-0 and are outscoring their opponents 69-6. Oklahoma’s recorded 33 extra base hits in conference play, 12 more than the Texas Longhorns. The Sooners offense also leads the way in walks.

Now Oklahoma prepares for the first of two consecutive top 25 showdowns in Big 12 play when they host the Baylor Bears this weekend. Friday’s game will be held at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, the site of the Women’s College World Series before moving back to Love’s Field for the final two games of the series.

Baylor is coming off of an upset sweep at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks. The Bears scored two runs in the opener, and that’s all they could muster the rest of the weekend.

With the Sooners leading the Big 12 in ERA, this may not be a great time to face Oklahoma and their deep pitching staff.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Oklahoma vs. Baylor comes in at No. 3 in D1Softball’s “What to watch” this week.

The Bears were the only team to beat the Sooners in 2023, winning a non-conference matchup before being swept in their conference series later in the year. Now, the teams meet again. OU has surged to open Big 12 play, dismantling Iowa State and Texas Tech, while Baylor has struggled, most recently being swept at the hands of Kansas last weekend. Kelly Maxwell has been excellent in the circle for the Sooners, while Baylor has had some injury issues that have limited their roster depth as a whole. The Bears are the first Big 12 opponent on the OU schedule with, at minimum, a proven history of *being capable* of beating the three-time-defending champions – but can they do it with this year’s team? Only time will tell. – Justin McCleod, D1Softball

After last year’s loss to Baylor in nonconference play, the Oklahoma Sooners responded by shutting out the Bears in a three-game sweep during conference play.

While the name on the jersey may read the same, these teams are different. Instead of Jordy Bahl and Alex Storako taking their turns in the rotation, the Sooners will send Kelly Maxwell and Kierston Deal to the circle with Nicole May to face their Big 12 foes.

Last year’s series with Baylor might have been the turning point for Cydney Sanders. Heading into that weekend in Waco, Sanders was hitting just .234 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. Against the Bears, she raised her average to .271 after going 4-for-6 with two home runs, four RBIs, and five walks. That sparked a second half of the season where Sanders recorded seven home runs and 15 RBIs, including the postseason, and finished with a .284 average. This year, Sanders is hitting .365 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs.

Baylor may have one of the few wins over the Sooners over the last couple of seasons, but this is a different Oklahoma team than the one they faced last year.

More: How to watch No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 19/22 Baylor

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire