USAO's Emily Cerny pitches for the Drovers in a conference tournament game earlier this month.

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma softball team's title defense continues this week.

The Drovers will be looking to claim their second national title in a row. They are the No. 1 overall seed at the NAIA World Series in Springfield, Missouri, and their first game is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.

USAO advanced to the World Series with a 4-1 record in the NAIA Opening Round in Dodge City, Kansas, where the team went 4-1. The Drovers went 3-0 after a 1-0 loss to the University of Houston-Victoria. USAO outscored its opponents 36-9 in the five games.

The Drovers are 56-2 this season.

USAO's offense is ranked in the top five of several categories in the NAIA. Individually, Destinie Lookout and Kristen Prieto each rank in the top 10 in RBIs. Lookout is in the top five.

Meanwhile, Randa Hatter is ranked fourth in the NAIA in home runs with 16 on the season.

On defense, Sooner Athletic Conference pitcher of the year Emily Cerny is in the top five of several categories, including ERA. Her .51 ERA is the best in the country.

Along with USAO are nine other schools looking to win a title, including No. 2 seed Marian University. The Knights are 53-1 this season with their only loss coming in the Opening Round in Springfield, Missouri, where they went 4-1.

The Knights are first in the NAIA in team ERA.

Seeded third is one of the two teams to pick up a win over USAO, SAC rival Oklahoma City University. The conference tournament champion is 57-6 on the season and rolled through the Opening Round at home, outscoring its opponents 33-5.

Seeded fourth is Southern Oregon University. SOU is 48-7 on the season and went 3-0 in the Opening Round to advance to the World Series.

Lindsey Wilson College is seeded fifth in the bracket and has only lost three games this season. The Blue Raiders are 50-3. They went 4-1 as the top seed in Columbia, Kentucky, defeating Grand View University twice to advance.

The No. 6 seed is Valley City State University. The Vikings are 54-3 on the season and advanced with a 3-0 record in Columbia, Missouri.

The University of Mobile is seeded seventh and reached the 50-win mark. The Rams did not lose a game in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Georgia Gwinnett College (42-14) is seeded eighth, and Vanguard University (46-11) is seeded ninth. Both teams went undefeated in Opening Round play and face each other Thursday. The winner will play USAO.

Oregon Tech is the No. 10 seed with a record of 43-15. The Owls went 3-0 in the Opening Round.


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