For the fourth time in five years, Oklahoma has been chosen by the league's head coaches as the frontrunner for the Big 12 softball title. The Sooners received all six first-place votes to top the Preseason Big 12 Poll, the Conference announced Thursday.
Oklahoma, the reigning Big 12 regular season champion, is coming off its seventh appearance in the Women's College World Series and returns 13 letterwinners from the 2012 squad, including USA Softball Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts and fellow All-Americans Lauren Chamberlain and Jessica Shults. The Sooners finished the 2012 season as the national runner-up with a 54-10 record.
Texas notched 29 points, coming in second behind the Sooners. Baylor was a close third, receiving 28 points, while Texas Tech landed in fourth with a total of 20. Oklahoma State (16), Kansas (12) and Iowa State (6) rounded out this year's preseason poll.
The Sooners open the 2013 season Friday, Feb. 8 at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. The Sooners open against Stanford and Oregon State on Friday, face Oregon and New Mexico on Saturday and round out the weekend against Northwestern on Sunday.
The season's first pitch against Stanford is scheduled for 10 a.m. (CT).
Team (First-Place Votes)
Oklahoma (6) 36
Texas Tech 20
Oklahoma State 16
Iowa State 6
**Points are awarded six for first, five for second, etc. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their teams.