Big 12 title, No. 1 seed lie as Bedlam stakes

NORMAN, Okla. — With the Big 12 title on the line, OU gets one final little tune up for its chase back to Oklahoma City and the Women's College World Series tonight.

The Sooners (44-4, 12-2 Big 12) take on Oklahoma State in Bedlam softball at 6 p.m. CT at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium needing just a pair of victories in this three-game set to capture the Big 12 regular season championship for their 10th time in program history.

Seventh-ranked Texas, with its 13-4 conference mark, sits a half game back of OU in the standings but only has one more game to play against Baylor, meaning a loss would open the door for OU to clinch with just one win due to owning the tiebreaker with its earlier season series win between the two.

Perhaps more importantly than all that, however, is the Sooners' ability to close strong down the stretch heading into postseason play.

A series victory will solidify them as the No. 1 national seed heading into next week's regional action with a guaranteed home trek throughout the postseason already in place.

It would again convey the message OU has sent all season: it is a force to be reckoned with and has a mission to take care of some unfinished business after falling to Alabama in the best-of-three national championship series a summer ago.

To do so, the Sooners will send the ace of the nation's best pitching staff, Keilani Ricketts (25-1, 1.14 ERA), to the circle to claim game one before the series shifts to Norman at noon Saturday and Michelle Gascoigne (16-3, 0.95 ERA) takes the ball in game two.

Game three is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday in Stillwater with the NCAA Selection Show on tap at 9 p.m. that night on ESPNU.

A Big 12 Championship, No. 1 overall seed and, oh, it's Bedlam: all of that leads to a big weekend for the nation's best team with much more huge softball to come throughout the rest of May and June.

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