COLLEGE STATION -- After clinching sole possession if its second Big 12 regular season title since 2005, the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (47-6, 17-1 Big 12) heads to Oklahoma City, Okla. for the 13th annual Big 12 Championship held May 9-11. The three-day, single elimination event kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The top-seeded Aggies, who received a first round bye, are set to play Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against the winner of eighth-seeded Baylor and ninth-seeded Iowa State.
"We are looking forward to competing in the Big 12 Championship tournament," A&M head coach Jo Evans said. "Our players fought hard during the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed and we need to use the seeding to our advantage. We have never won the Big 12 Championship tournament, so that is a big motivation for us. It is also important for us to take momentum into the NCAA Tournament and a Big 12 Championship tournament title would be a great place to start."
Oklahoma earned the No. 2 seed after closing out the season with a 16-2 conference record. The Sooners are seeking their fourth Big 12 Championship title and second in a row after defeating Kansas, Missouri and Texas Tech to win the title last season. OU won the inaugural Big 12 Championship in 1996 and claimed its second title in 2001.
OU owns a league-best 34-16 (.680) Big 12 Championship record. The Sooners were granted a first round bye and will play the winner of seventh-seeded Kansas and 10th-seeded Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Missouri garnered the No. 3 seed, ending the conference season with an 11-6 record after splitting its final regular season series with Nebraska last weekend. The Tigers captured their only tournament championship in 1997. MU ranks fourth in the Big 12 Championship with a 21-19 (.525) all-time record and will open tournament play against sixth-seeded Texas Tech at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Fifth-seeded Oklahoma State and fourth-seeded Texas both finished the season 9-9 but based on the conference tiebreaking policy, the Longhorns received the higher seed due to a larger run differential during conference play. The two teams will face off in first round action at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Texas has won a league-best four postseason championships. The Longhorns won their first title in 1999, back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, and then again in 2005. UT sits third in the league with a 21-13 (.618) all-time Big 12 Championship record.
Oklahoma State is 16-23 (.410) all-time at the annual postseason championship, which ranks seventh in the league standings.
Texas Tech earned its highest seeding since 2001 at No. 6 after finishing the regular season with an 8-10 record in league action. The Red Raiders’ 11-17 (.393) all-time Big 12 Championship record falls eighth in the conference standings.
Kansas enters the tournament as the No. 7 seed after closing out regular season play with a 7-11 record. The Jayhawks won their first ever Big 12 Championship title in 2006 after beating Oklahoma, 4-2, in the final game. Kansas ranks fifth with a 15-18 (.455) all-time Big 12 Championship record and will open tournament action against 10th-seeded Nebraska at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Baylor earned the No. 8 seed with a 4-13 conference record. The Bears captured their first-ever Big 12 crown, winning the regular season title with a school record 14 conference wins in 2007. Baylor is 9-19 (.321) all-time at the postseason championship. BU will take on ninth-seeded Iowa State at 5 p.m. on Friday.
The Aggies and Bears met twice earlier this season, with A&M winning both contests, 7-0 and 8-0.
A&M hold the all-time series lead at 51-18-1. The two schools have faced off six times in tournament action, with each team winning three games apiece.
Iowa State received the No. 9 seed after finishing 4-14 in conference play. The Cyclones are 4-15 all-time at the Big 12 Championship.
The Aggies combined for 20 total hits and 20 total runs to run-rule ISU 11-1 and 9-1 in their regular season two-game series.
A&M holds a solid 29-5 all-time series lead over the Cyclones entering Saturday’s possible match-up. The two teams have met just once in tournament action, with the Aggies winning 4-0 in 2001.
Nebraska finished the conference season at 4-14 and earned the No. 10 seed. The Huskers have won three postseason championships (‘98, ‘00, `04) and boast a league second-best 15-18 (.455) all-time record.
The Aggies finished out the regular season with a 2-1 win over Texas last Wednesday. Senior Jamie Hinshaw was 3-for-3 with a homerun and two runs scored for the Aggies. In the circle, Megan Gibson scattered three hits, while striking out seven Longhorn hitters and allowing just one run through seven-complete innings.
A&M is 15-20 (.429) all-time in postseason championship history. The Aggies won their first game in 2007, 2-1, over Nebraska before being dropping a 3-4 decision to Texas Tech.
Live stats will be available on aggieathletics.com. Fans can listen to A&M’s games live on Sports Radio 1150 the Zone with play-by-play from Louie Belina and color commentary by Stephen Grove.