Defending champion Oklahoma Sooners earn top seed in NCAA Division I Softball Championship

Defending champion Oklahoma has earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship, which begins on Friday.

The 64-team field, which was selected by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee, was announced on Sunday.

The SEC, led by a pair of top-10 seeds in No. 4 Arkansas and No. 6 Alabama, had the most teams selected to compete in the tournament with 12.

Grand Canyon University, North Texas, Murray State and UNC Wilmington will make their first ever appearances in the tournament.

Oklahoma is looking to bounce back after only its second loss of the season on Saturday, falling to rival Oklahoma State in the final round of the Big 12 championship.

The Sooners, who lead the country in both batting average (.367) and earned run average (0.81) this season, will play Prairie View at home in Norman.

Fresh off its first conference title in program history, Oklahoma State was given the No. 7 seed and will play Fordham in Stillwater.

Regionals, which are hosted by the top 16 seeds, are from Friday to Sunday, with the winners advancing to the super regionals on May 26-29.

The Women's College World Series will be June 2-10 in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma, which beat Florida State to win last year's WCWS, is looking to win in consecutive seasons for the second time in program history.

The Sooners have won five total national championships, all under head coach Patty Gasso, who was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

Oklahoma is one of only six teams to win multiple championships and trails only UCLA (12) and Arizona (eight) in total championships.