The rich get richer, as the Oklahoma softball team continues to pile on with an influx of talent this offseason.
The University of Oklahoma Sooners' three-time defending national champion softball program announced on Tuesday that it has added four players — Kelly Maxwell, Riley Ludlam, Karlie Keeney and Paytn Monticelli — to its roster from the transfer portal.
In other words, next season might already be a wrap.
Get to Know Oklahoma's Incoming Transfers
Maxwell joins the Sooners after an incredible career at Oklahoma's cross-state rival, Oklahoma State. During Maxwell's four years at Oklahoma State, the left-handed pitcher was a two-time All-American, earned the 2022 Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Year award, tallied three All-Big 12 First Team honors, and led Oklahoma State to three straight Women's College World Series. Expect to see Maxwell on the Sooners' mound often.
Ludlam is a graduate transfer from Furman University, where she was the 2023 Southern Conference Player of the Year after hitting .372 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs last season. Ludlam, a catcher/designated hitter, is probably the best player in Furman history, and she will provide a boost of power in the middle of Oklahoma's lineup in 2024 — as if they needed any more.
Keeney will arrive in Norman on a high after her season-long master class in 2023. The right-handed pitcher from Liberty University wowed on the mound while appearing in 48 games. She threw 261 innings with a 27-12 record and a 2.03 ERA, struck out 153 hitters and led Liberty to a massive upset victory against No. 2 seed UCLA in last year's NCAA tournament. Liberty will miss her — but the Sooners won't feel bad about adding Keeney to their already-exceptional pitching staff.
Monticelli is the only undergraduate transfer and heads to Oklahoma from the University of Wisconsin. While the sophomore right-handed pitcher finished her freshman campaign with a 7-4 record, 2.71 ERA and a team-high 82 strikeouts, she will likely start her Oklahoma tenure pretty deep on the pitching depth chart. Patience is a virtue, however — especially when Monticelli can bide her time practicing with the best. Adding players such as Monticelli is the reason why Oklahoma's greatness has sustained for so long.
Of course, Oklahoma doesn't need this extraordinary transfer class. It's returning 13 players from last year's title-winning team, including Tiare Jennings — one of the world's best hitters — and Nicole May, who went 18-0 with a .91 ERA last season.
It's a nice time to be a Sooner.
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