IRVING, Texas- For the third straight year, Texas A&M has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference softball title in a vote of the league’s head coaches, it was announced.
The Aggies (79 points) received seven of the possible 10 first-place votes to edge out second-place Oklahoma, which earned 70 points, including one first-place tally. Baylor came in third (64 points) with two first place nods followed by Missouri, Texas and Nebraska. Filling the remaining spots in the preseason ranking were Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Iowa State.
A&M returns eight starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished with a 46-14 record and made its sixth-straight NCAA appearance.
Among the returnees are two-time All-Americans Amanda Scarborough and Megan Gibson. The duo combined for 39 complete games and held opponents to two runs or less in 37 games a year ago. Collectively the two seniors averaged nearly nine strikeouts per game, holding their opponents to a .204 batting average.
Oklahoma returns seven starters, including three All-Americans, that helped produce one of the most successful Sooner campaigns in school history. The 2007 Big 12 Champions finished 55-8 a year ago compiling the program’s second-highest winning percentage, behind the 2000 National Championship squad that posted a 66-8 record.
Defending Big 12 regular-season champion Baylor looks to improve on last season’s trip to the Women’s College World Series as it returns six starters and 10 letterwinners. The 2007 Bears tied a program record for wins along with capturing their first Big 12 crown before advancing to the WCWS for the first time in school history.
Opening weekend starts Friday, Feb. 8 with six Big 12 squads seeing non-conference action.
2008 Big 12 CONFERENCE Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Texas A&M (7) 79
2. Oklahoma (1) 70
3. Baylor (2) 64
4. Missouri 61
5. Texas 45
6. Nebraska 43
7. Texas Tech 29
8. Oklahoma State 25
9. Kansas 23
10. Iowa State 11