The preseason plaudits continue to roll in for Oklahoma.
Patty Gasso’s defending back-to-back National Champions were ranked as the No. 1-overall team in Softball America’s preseason top 25 on Tuesday.
The Sooners were ranked in the top spot in D1 Softball’s preseason top 25 last week.
Oklahoma lost college softball’s all-time career home run leader in Jocelyn Alo off the 2022 title team, as well as key contributors in catcher Lynnsie Elam, third baseman Jana Johns, first baseman Taylon Snow and pitcher Hope Trautwein, but Gasso wasted no time adding to her strong core.
Stars in shortstop Grace Lyons, second baseman Tiare Jennings and pitcher Jordy Bahl all return as well as outfielders Alyssa Brito and Rylie Boone, catcher Kinzie Hansen and pitcher Nicole May to help OU win its third straight title.
Gasso also made key additions in the transfer portal.
She replaced Trautwein’s veteran arm with Michigan transfer Alex Storako, and then added NFCA Freshman of the Year finalist in Arizona State first baseman Cydney Sanders.
Sanders’ ASU teammate Alynah Torres also transferred to Norman, as well as Texas A&M utility player and power hitter Haley Lee.
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A pair of OU’s Big 12 foes in Oklahoma State and Texas also were highly rated by Softball America, with the Cowgirls checking in at No. 2-overall and the Longhorns were rated No. 9.
Seven other teams on Oklahoma’s 2023 schedule were also ranked in the poll.
OU will square off against No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 UCLA, No. 15 Duke, No. 17 Washington, No. 18 Auburn, No. 19 Kentucky and No. 20 Stanford during the regular season.
The Sooners open the year against Duke on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., kicking off the Mark Campbell Invitational in Irvine, CA.
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Source : Sports Illustrated