Photo credit, Richard DeCray
I think that we're all pretty much agreed that anything from this point on is gravy for Oklahoma's baseball team. The Sooners' run to the second place finish in the Big XII Tournament and then on to the Charlottesville Regional championship is deserving of the highest of honors by fans everywhere. However, Oklahoma's season is far from over and where the team's sights have been on Omaha from day one, we the fans are buying as well.
A big part of the transformation in this team has been the play of Matt Oberste. The Sooners have had a solid pitching rotation all season long but often lacked run support. Oberste has been the answer to that in the post season. He's hitting with regularity and often sending the ball out of the park. In the Big XII Tournament he went yard three times and tallied up four RBIs. He then went on and was named the most-outstanding player of the Charlottesville Regional after recording seven hits and 6 RBIs to lead OU to the championship.
With a .331 Oberste is one of two Sooners hitting .300 or better. The other is Max White who has a team high .339 batting average and also leads the team with 55 RBIs. As a team the Sooners are batting .265 with 36 home runs, which was the second most in the Big XII.
On the mound the Sooners will look to Jordan John (8-7, 2.26 ERA), Jonathan Gray (8-4, 3.32 ERA) and Dillon Overton (6-3, 3.16 ERA) to try and eliminate the two-time defending national champions.
The Gamecocks are making their eighteenth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and return 18 players from last year's national championship team. They are led in batting by Christian Walker who is batting .319 with 53 RBIs and 11 home runs on the season. Tanner English is only other USC player batting .300 or better. He has a current batting average of .307 with 21 RBIs. As a team they are batting .271 with 41 home runs.
When looking at the averages you can come very close in drawing and even parallel between these two teams at the plate. Neither are high percentage teams or overly powerful. That's what makes what happens on the mound even more crucial in this series, and the two teams aren't far off from there either.
South Carolina will throw ace Michael Roth in the opener. He's a lefty, which doesn't bode well for Oklahoma, who has produced a 6-1 record this season with a 2.68 ERA. In the second game USC will have Colby Holmes on the mound. He's a right-handed pitcher with a 7-1 record on the season and a 3.00 ERA.
The Gamecocks haven't listed a game three starter but I believe that the Sooners will have to get there to win this series. In my opinion, if the super regional ends in two games then it will not be in Oklahoma's favor. USC is 30-7 at home this season.