#1 Oklahoma Softball 2020 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners
Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
Oklahoma Logo
Oklahoma continued their run of dominance in the Big 12 as they went 18-0 in conference play enroute to a 57-win season and another appearance in the Women’s College World Series Championship series against UCLA. The final against the Bruins was a tough one to swallow as they ran into a UCLA team that was an absolute Buzzsaw that outscored the Sooners 21-7 in a two-game sweep. Head Coach Patty Gasso returns a balanced team that is the preseason favorite to once again win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.
2019: 57-6, 18-0
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Patty Gasso
Key Departed Players:
Sydney Romero, INF, .427 BA, 20 HR, 56 RBI
Shay Knighten, INF, .324 BA, 10 HR, 36 RBI
Cayleigh Clifton, INF, .390 BA, 17 HR 52 RBI
Mariah Lopez, P, 1.25 ERA, 19-1 W/L, 117.2 IP, 27 BB, 159 SO
Falepolima Aviu, OF, .350 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Grace Green, UTIL, .359 BA, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 10 SB
Jocelyn Alo, UTIL, .379 BA, 16 HR, 56 RBI
Grace Lyons, INF, .263 BA, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB
Giselle “G” Juarez, P, 1.39 ERA, 28-4 W/L, 186.1 IP,38 BB, 269 SO
Shannon Saile, P, 1.42 ERA, 10-1 W/L, 78.2 IP, 19 BB, 126 SO
Nicole Mendes, UTIL, .348 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI
Pitching is going to set the tone for Oklahoma in 2020 as Giselle “G” Juarez and Shannon Saile will form a very strong 1-2 punch in the circle. Juarez made a seamless adjustment in 2019 to the pressures of being a pitcher at Oklahoma as she went 28-4 with a 1.39 earned run average and struck out 269 batters in 186.1 innings and only walked 38. Thus, the nearly pinpoint command by Juarez was a huge reason why she was so dominant under the tutelage of pitching coach Jennifer Rocha. Shannon Saile should see her numbers get even better with more work in 2020 as she went 10-1 and struck out 126 batters in 78.2 innings of work. The ability of the Oklahoma pitchers to avoid the unnecessary walk and make opposing hitters truly earn everything they get is an underrated strength of this program. The offense will be led Grace Green and Jocelyn Alo, who will have a little bit of additional pressure to replace to significant loss in offensive production due to graduation. Green had an excellent freshman campaign as she hit.359 with 17 homeruns, 54 runs batted in and ten stolen bases. Alo has the ability to hit .400 and get to the 20-25 homerun level, if not higher, as she will need to in order for this team to get back to the championship series in June. Taylon Snow transferred over from Auburn in the offseason and should paly immediately and provide some extra power to the lineup. Grace Lyons should take a step forward as a sophomore with her overall production and build off of a strong freshman campaign where she was named to the 2019 All-Big 12 Freshman team. There is a good balance to the schedule as a whole for Oklahoma as they will get some quality tests out of conference against Arizona, Washington, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Kentucky. As for the Big 12 slate, it will start with a visit from Texas and end with three key games against Oklahoma State as those two series will decide the conference race. In the end, you can expect the Sooners to be back in Oklahoma City as one of the favorites to win it all in 2020.  
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament