Two of nation’s best teams clash in Austin as Texas, Oklahoma face off in their final Big 12 softball series

AUSTIN (KXAN) — McCombs Field will be at the center of the college softball universe beginning Friday.

Top-ranked Oklahoma, the three-time defending national champions, come to Austin to take on No. 5 Texas in a series that will have both conference and national implications.

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Both squads have been among the nation’s best all season on offense and in the pitching circle. Oklahoma leads the country with a .397 batting average while the Longhorns are No. 2 hitting .377. The Sooners have the third-best ERA at 1.40 with Texas close behind them at 1.41, so something has to give, right?

Sophomore catcher Reese Atwood said it’s going to come down to which team can perform in specific moments throughout the series.

“It’s going to be who can handle the pressure better,” she said. “Both teams are equally as talented, so it’s going to come down to who can up in the big moments and who can make the big plays.”

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The Longhorns are still a relatively young team with a terrific sophomore class and another great group of freshmen to mix in with older talent. The Sooners, meanwhile, have won their three national titles with essentially the same core group and have 10 seniors ready to claim a fourth crown. Longhorns head coach Mike White said the Sooners simply reload each season.

“That’s hard to believe with the 10 seniors,” he said. “We’re the ones that have to eliminate the mistakes. We’ve made big mistakes in big situations against them in the past, and the team that executes and takes advantage of mistakes is going to win.”

The Longhorns have to navigate the fine line between playing hard and staying within themselves. If the team tries to do too much, it becomes counterintuitive to what they’re trying to do in the first place. They have to be themselves, White said.

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“We can’t make it bigger than what it is,” he said. “It’s already going to be a big series, and we’ve shown we can match up against good teams, and that’s what we have to concentrate on. We have the abilities, we’re a good team, and now we have to play to our ability.”

The Sooners are 34-1 with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns spoiling their 71-game winning streak in early March. They beat No. 24 Kansas by a combined score of 30-4 in a three-game sweep last week.

The first game of the series will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be on ESPNU with the Saturday game on ESPN at 7 p.m. The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday with the broadcast on Longhorn Network.

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