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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

OU Softball Pegged Big 12 Favorites By Coaches

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

For the fifth time in the last six years, and the second season in a row, the Oklahoma softball team has topped the Preseason Coaches' Big 12 Poll. The Sooners, who were tabbed No. 2 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll Tuesday, received six of the seven first-place votes, though coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

The reigning national champions and two-time defending Big 12 champions return seven starters from last season's squad, including USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist Lauren Chamberlain, second-team All-American Shelby Pendley and second-team All-Region honoree Destinee Martinez.

Oklahoma posted a 57-4 record in 2013 and went 15-2 in the Big 12 to capture the sixth regular season conference crown in program history.

The Sooners led their fellow Big 12 teams with 36 points, while Baylor received the seventh first-place vote and ranked second with 31 points. Texas was slotted third by the coaches with 26 points, followed by Kansas (18), Oklahoma State (16), Texas Tech (13) and Iowa State (7).

The 2014 season starts for Oklahoma on Friday, Feb. 7 against No. 12 Kentucky at the Easton Tournament in Fullerton, Calif. The Sooners are also scheduled to face host-Cal State Fullerton, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount and Pittsburgh at the event.

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