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OU softball: Potential starters, impact players for 2020 season

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Eliyah Flores

Sophomore Eliyah Flores throws the ball back after catching a foul ball during the game against Northwestern March 10.

The Sooners lost four starters at the end of the 2019 season, and one burning question remains: Who will replace these four players and make an impact in 2020? 

Oklahoma has to replace 2019 Big 12 Player of the Year in Sydney Romero, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Caleigh Clifton, and fellow All-Big 12 members Fale Aviu and Shay Knighten. All were vital members for four seasons, a stretch where they won two Women’s College World Series and made three appearances in said game. 

Here are potential breakout players for the 2020 season:

Brooke Vestal redshirt freshman right-handed Pitcher

Vestal redshirted her freshman season and has yet to make college debut. However, new circumstances provide new opportunities, and with the transfer of Mariah Lopez to Arizona State, Vestal is looking at a real shot to become the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation behind Gisele “G” Juarez and will compete for innings with senior Shannon Saile. 

Vestal was a three-time All-American by FloSoftball in high school and recorded a 25-8 record with a 1.31 ERA in her last full season of play in 2017. 

Taylon Snow, junior infielder

Snow enters OU as a transfer from Auburn, where she made 99 starts in two seasons for the Tigers. Snow could be a huge addition to this roster, providing experience in what could be a young infield for the Sooners. 

Sophomore Grace Lyons seems to be locked in at shortstop, but Snow could very well move positions as Auburn turned an SEC-high 30 double plays last season. Snow batted .324 with 56 hits, 27 RBI and 31 runs scored. 

Eliyah Flores, junior utility 

Flores, a member of the 2018 All-Big 12 Freshman Team, appeared in 51 games in 2019, making six starts at four different positions.

With the loss of Clifton at second base, Flores could find herself plugging in as a full-time starter, as she's made five career starts at that position. For her career, Flores has a .264 batting average with one home run, 12 RBI and a .982 fielding percentage. 

Rylie Boone, freshman outfielder

With senior center fielder Nicole Mendes reportedly missing a portion of the season with an ACL-injury, someone new will have to patrol center field for the Sooners.

Boone, from Owasso, Oklahoma, recorded a .514 batting average her senior year along with 15 steals. Baseball and Softball is in her family blood, as her brother Trevor plays center field at Oklahoma State. At the very least, Boone could provide some serious speed to the Sooners roster. 

Correction:This post has been corrected to mark Eliyah Flores being an All-Big 12 Freshman, not Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

 

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