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Oklahoma softball earns No. 1 seed in quest for WCWS three-peat

Oklahoma's Rylie Boone and Jayda Coleman celebrate after winning the Big 12 softball tournament championship. (BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Two-time reigning Women’s College World Series champion Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA softball tournament after going 51-1 on the season.

This year’s tournament marks the fourth straight in which the Sooners have held the top seed, and they’re looking to take their third consecutive title.

Ahead of the NCAA tournament, Oklahoma beat Texas to take the Big 12 tournament championship, confirming its status as the overwhelming favorite to take the national title again.

UCLA sits at No. 2 overall, and Florida State holds the No. 3 seed, followed by Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Washington and Duke among the top eight seeds.

No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Georgia, No. 15 Utah and No. 16 Clemson all round out the top 16, as well as the teams hosting regionals.

“The committee had to look at a lot of really good teams with good résumés, especially for the top eight,” selection committee chair Kelly Gatwood said on the selection show. “We really had to dig deep and look at top-10 wins that would help us differentiate.”

Oklahoma has lost just one game all season, on Feb. 18 at Baylor. It was the Sooners’ first loss since last year’s WCWS, when UCLA scored a 7-3 win against Oklahoma before the Sooners got their revenge in an elimination game.

“We have a very balanced lineup and a balanced team,” Sooners coach Patty Gasso said during the selection show. “It’s consistency, grit, hard work, clutch — all those things you need in the postseason.”

Oklahoma, which will face Hofstra in the first round, leads the nation with a team ERA of 0.86. The Sooners also lead the country in batting average (.368), on-base percentage (.463) and scoring (423 runs) and are second in homers (94).

UCLA could provide a challenge, led by Maya Brady, who has hit .458 on the season. The Bruins will host Grand Canyon in their opener.

Regionals run from May 19-21, with the super regionals set for May 25-28. The final eight teams left in the bracket will compete in the Women’s College World Series, which begins June 1 in Oklahoma City, with the finals June 7-9.

You can view the full NCAA bracket here.