Oklahoma takes their 9-3 record and #16 ranking on the road to Oregon this weekend to play in the Nike College Showcase. The typical starting weekend rotation remains the same personnel wise but a bit different in a different order of appearance. A fourth starter has yet to be named for Sunday's game against #22 Oregon State. For three of Oklahoma's four opponents it will be the first time the Sooners have faced them in baseball.
Lefty Steven Okert takes the mound Friday afternoon against Connecticut. Okert is 2-0 on the season and has a 4.58 ERA. The Huskies will be throwing lefty Brian Ward who is 1-0 on the season with an impressive 1.33 ERA. UConn returns 19 letterwinners from last year's squad that won the Big East. They are 4-6 so far on this season.
Weekend Schedule For Sooner Baseball
Friday March 9th
2:00 p.m. vs. Connecticut
Saturday March 10th
11:00 a.m. vs. West Virginia
7:00 p.m. vs. #9 Oregon
Sunday March 11th
11:00 a.m. vs. #22 Oregon State
Lefty Dillon Overton will start Saturday mornings game against West Virginia. He's typically been the Friday starter but will take on the Mountaineers instead. On the season Overton has a 3.74 ERA and a 2-0 record. WVU has not announced their starter for this game. They currently have a 6-6 record after starting the season 3-0. They return 14 letterwinners from last year's team that went 28-27.
I'm sure that Sunny Galloway has his reasons but we wouldn't be who we are if we didn't second guess coaches from time to time. If you're going to push Overton back to Saturday it seems to make more sense to throw him in the night game against #9 Oregon. The Ducks already have a sweep of #17 Vanderbilt under their belts and will be throwing Jake Reed at the Sooners. Reed is 1-0 on the season and has a 1.86 ERA. In response the Sooners will be throwing Jonathan Gray and his 6.14 ERA/1-2 record.
Sunday the Sooners will travel from Eugene to Corvallis to play Oregon State. The Beavers are the only team Oklahoma plays this weekend that they have a history against but OU and Oregon State have never faced off in in Corvallis. OSU finished second in the Pac 10 last season and have an 8-4 record with 15 letterwinners returning this season. Oklahoma has a 5-2 all-time record against Oregon State in baseball. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher for Sunday's game.
Matt Oberste is supposed to return to the lineup for Oklahoma this weekend. He sat out last weekend's series against New Mexico and the mid-week series against Arkansas Pine Bluff with an undisclosed injury. For the season he's hitting .360 with six RBIs. In his place Tanner Toal has batted .333 with 2 RBIs. Freshman catcher Hunter Lockwood continues to remain hot from the batter's box with a .326 batting average and team highs in RBIs (15) and home runs (5).
Looking at the field this will be the most difficult weekend of baseball to this point of the season. They have to be excited to see how they stack up against Top 25 competition but a bit nervous as well considering struggles from both the mound and the plate this season. Setting the bar at a 2-2 weekend record may not be a bad idea while hoping for much better.