The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 22, 2014

OU softball garners preseason No. 2 ranking

NORMAN — Six months after winning a national title, the Sooners have been ranked No. 2 in the first preseason softball poll.

Oklahoma earned the title a year ago with a historically strong team, behind pitchers Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne and one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. The Sooners defeated Tennessee in two games in the Women’s College World Series final to cap off a momentous season and the program’s second national title under coach Patty Gasso.

A host of Sooners, including both pitchers as well as catcher Jessica Shults, graduated in May and won’t be with the team this season, but that didn’t keep them from earning the most first-place votes in the poll. The Sooners return seven starters from that squad, including Player of the Year finalist Lauren Chamberlain.

Oklahoma had 17 first-place votes to No. 1 Tennessee’s seven in the poll, but the Volunteers edged the Sooners in the poll, 729-720. The Sooners are set to face 10 teams this season that are ranked in the poll, including No. 10 Texas and No. 18 Baylor.

The Sooners open the season on Feb. 7 against Kentucky in Fullerton, Calif.

Corbin Hosler

Follow me @Chosler88

chosler@normantranscript.com

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