#3 Oklahoma Softball 2015 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
#3 Oklahoma Softball 2015 Preview
Oklahoma Team Page


The beat goes on in Norman for the Oklahoma Softball program as the post Keilani Ricketts era last season went very well for the Sooners, winning 50 plus games and going to the Women’s College World Series. A very deep and pretty balanced Oklahoma team returns in 2015 for head coach Patty Gasso who has turned the Sooners into one of the gold standard programs in all of college softball.

2014: 51-13, 16-2
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Patty Gasso

Field Players:
Shelby Pendley returns to anchor another deep, talented offensive attack for Oklahoma this season. Pendley hit. 430 with 19 homeruns and 76 runs batted in last season. Infielder Lauren Chamberlain, when healthy, is one of the top power hitters in all of college softball. She hit12 homeruns in 39 games during an injury shortened 2014 campaign. Infielder Georgia Casey is back as well and she is very dangerous at the plate, hitting .353 with 13 homeruns and 49 runs batted in. The Sooners scored 450 runs as a team in 64 games last season, which is absolutely outstanding and they should be able to come close to matching that with a healthy Lauren Chamberlain.

Kelsey Stevens did a nice job in taking over for Keilani Ricketts in the circle as the ace of the Sooner pitching staff. Stevens was 38-9 with a 2.44 earned run average over the course of 275 innings pitched. Stevens is not afraid to go after hitters, striking out 285 batters, but she did give up 30 homeruns as well. The key for Stevens will be if she gives up a lot of homeruns again this season, to limit them to solo homeruns as that won’t hurt her as much since the Oklahoma offense is so explosive offensively. Georgia Casey, Shelby Pendley, and Leslie Miller should also see plenty of time in the circle making spot starts and in relief for Oklahoma this season.

Who to Watch:
Catcher/infielder Whitney Ellis is a key player to keep an eye on for the Sooners. Ellis has excellent versatility and has that element of power that she brings to the table. She hit .295 with 10 homeruns and drove in 50 runs last season. If Ellis can increase her production just a little bit to help offset the losses of Destinee Martinez and Brittany Williams, that will just make the Oklahoma lineup that much more dangerous as the season goes along.

Final Projection:
The season opens on February 5th in Honolulu against a tough DePaul squad that should be a Big East favorite. The following weekend brings a trip to Tempe, Arizona for the Sooners which will give them a nice up close look at some of the best teams in the Pac-12 as they will battle Washington and Arizona State twice. Arizona, Georgia and Kentucky await Oklahoma the following weekend out in Palm Springs, California thus giving the Sooners a great cross section of styles of play to get them ready for the remainder of the season. Some of the other signature nonconference matchups include a single game with Wichita State and a two game set down in Baton Rouge against the LSU Tigers. The Big 12 schedule will, for the most part, come down to a two week stretch at Texas from April 10-12, and then a visit from Baylor the following weekend from April 17-19. The Sooners will be in great shape in conference play if they can get through that stretch at 4-2 or better in those six games. If Lauren Chamberlain comes back and produces at a high level and Kelsey Stevens can pick up from where she left off in 2014 in the circle, then the Sooners should once again be back at the Women’s College World Series.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Shelby Pendley, IF, 193
Hits: Shelby Pendley, IF, 83
Home Runs: Shelby Pendley, IF, 19
RBIs: Shelby Pendley, IF, 76
Runs: Shelby Pendley, IF, 67
Stolen Bases: Shelby Pendley, IF, 13

Wins: Kelsey Stevens, P, 38
Innings Pitched: Kelsey Stevens, P, 275.0
Strikeouts: Kelsey Stevens, P, 285
Complete Games: Kelsey Stevens, P, 25

Madness 2015 NPF Draft Rankings:
#7 Shelby Pendley
#14 Lauren Chamberlain

Madness 2015 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#36 Paige Parker
#41 Nicole Pendley
#50 Kelsey Arnold


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