When Texas hurler Miranda Elish fired a one-hit shutout over Baylor on Saturday, the stage was finally set for this season’s Big 12 Tournament. With the loss, the Lady Bears were eliminated from contention for the post-season showcase.
Sixth-seeded Kansas, while being swept in its three-game set against Iowa State, held the tie-breaker over Baylor after winning two of three games during their series in Lawrence back in March.
Saturday afternoon also saw top-ranked Oklahoma lay claim to its eighth consecutive Big 12 regular season title. With a 3-0 victory over Oklahoma State, the Sooners notched their 12th regular season championship and 18th overall title when including their six Big 12 Tournament championships.
The Sooners completed a sweep of the Cowgirls on Sunday with a 7-1 victory in the opener and a 6-1 win in the nightcap, to finish their 2019 Big 12 campaign with a perfect 18-0 record for the second consecutive season.
Pool play will take place on Friday, May 10, with Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas competing in POOL A, while Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State will play in POOL B.
Saturday will feature matchups between the two third-place pool finishers, followed by a matchup with the second-place teams and culminating with the Championship Game between the two top teams from each pool.
No. 1 Oklahoma
Oklahoma finished the regular season with a 48-2 overall record, good for the best 50-game record in school history, edging the 2018 team’s 47-3 record. OU’s 0.960 regular season winning percentage in 2019 is a program best.
Sooner southpaw Giselle Juarez logged her fourth shutout of the season in Saturday’s clincher. The junior southpaw struck out 13 batters, allowing just one hit in the complete-game performance. Her 13 strikeouts stand as the most in a conference game by a Big 12 pitcher this year, and the total is one shy of her season high.
Juarez has struck out at least 10 batters in her last five starts and remained undefeated on the season, entering the post-season with a 21-0 record.
No. 2 Oklahoma State
For Oklahoma State, while the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor over the past weekend, there is still plenty the Cowgirls bring to the table in the tournament.
Senior Madi Sue Montgomery entered the OSU record book over the weekend topping the Cowgirls’ list of all-time at-bats and also became the first player in school history to turn more than 40 double plays.
When Samantha Show blasted a solo home run off the scoreboard in right field during Sunday’s opener, the senior moved into sole possession of the OSU single-season home run record. The blast was Show’s 16th homer of the season, surpassing Montgomery’s mark from last season.
No. 3 Texas
The Longhorn offense has out-hit their opponents in 41 of 53 games this season while averaging 8.0 hits-per-game.
The offense has been sparked by sophomore Mary Iakopo. Since March 31, the Longhorn catcher has been on fire at the plate, leading the Texas offense with a .511 average (22-for-43), 11 runs scored, four home runs and 12 RBIs. She has also reached base safely in 12 straight games and 14 of 15 during the stretch.
In the circle, hurler Shealyn O’Leary’s 0.48 ERA leads Division I, and the freshman boasts a 13-1 overall record in 19 appearances this season.
No. 4 Texas Tech
Texas Tech ended its regular season on a high note as a three-run blast from Jessica Hartwell and seven-run bottom of the sixth lifted the Red Raiders to a 9-6 victory over No. 21 Kentucky on Senior Day.
The senior All-American became the Red Raiders’ all-time career home run leader with a three-run homer in a narrow, 8-7 loss to Oklahoma State last month, surpassing the prior record of 45. Her tally against Kentucky brings her career home run stat sheet total to 48 heading into this weekend’s tournament.
Hurler Erin Edmoundson, now 18-3, earned the victory in the circle. The sophomore southpaw entered the circle in relief in the top of the second, fanning three hitters in 5.1 innings and limiting a powerful Kentucky offense to just four hits. Junior Missy Zoch share duties in the circle with Edmoundson, posting a 16-9 record with a 2.51 ERA.
With the top-25 victory over Kentucky, the Red Raiders finished the regular season with a 38-13 overall record and improved to 30-3 against non-conference opponents.
No. 5 Iowa State
The Cyclones finished their regular season in strong fashion, sweeping conference foe Kansas. ISU took game one, 1-0, behind a dominant outing in the circle by Savannah Sanders and completed the sweep with a 4-2 win in game two — both games were capped by walk-off home runs from junior Sami Williams.
With Saturday's wins, the Cyclones closed the regular season with a record of 31-22, notching the program's first 30-win season since 1989.
Senior Emma Hylen anchors the Cyclone pitching staff, posting a 14-9 record on the season with a 3.16 ERA, striking out 94 with 10 complete games. Sanders and Shannon Mortimer have both logged over 80 innings from the circle, with Sanders posting a 1.28 ERA and Mortimer coming in with a 1.32 ERA.
No. 6. Kansas
The beneficiary of the Texas weekend sweep of Baylor, the Jayhawks return to the tournament for the first time since 2017 and are scheduled to play in Big 12 postseason play for the first time since 2010.
Senior Brynn Minor pitched all six innings in game two of the series and started the first two innings against the Cyclones in the series finale. Minor pitched 23.1 consecutive innings until she was removed in the third inning of the series finale. She has carried the burden from the circle for the Jayhawks this season, logging 164.2 innings.
Morgyn Wynne hit her seventh home run of the season in the first inning of game two against the Cyclones, and the freshman’s .298 average and .885 OPS tops the Kansas stat-sheet.