June 9, 2012; Gainesville, FL, USA; A general view as North Carolina State players take batting practice before game one of the Gainesville super regional against the Florida Gators at McKethan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma Sooners reloaded after 11 players were taken in the MLB Draft last season. Part of the heralded class included Matt Oberste who has had his fair share of struggles. However, he could prove to be the X-Factor in this Super Regional Series against defending national champions South Carolina Gamecocks.
Matt Oberste came in as a transfer after playing a single season at Connors State. Since he stepped up to the plate it has been very apparent that he possesses a power that most can only dream of. Due to this talent, Oberste has begun to find himself with the nickname of "O-Beast." However, that does not come close to describing where he has come from.
Oberste has been in and out of the lineup at designated hitter. It is tough for a guy to ride the pine watching everyone play in the field then only stepping up to bat 4-to-5 times a game. Players want to be involved and have a significant impact on the game both from an offensive perspective as well as on the defensive side of things. Many times, this leads to a kid shopping himself out to other schools to draw interest.
Yet, much of why Oberste hasn't played in the field is due to a torn labrum in the shoulder joint. At the beginning of the season, Coach Sunny Golloway had intended for Oberste to become the starting left-fielder. All of that was scrapped with the discovery of the injury. Playing through the injury, Oberste laid down a .333 batting average. But as all sports go, injuries are a part of the game. Oberste suffered a strained forearm while Hunter Lockwood was inserted into the lineup and the Oklahoma bats all but disappeared.
This is no slight to Lockwood who consistently posed a threat each and every time he stepped up to the plate.
As of late, Oberste has come on strong with his performances dating back to before the Big XII Tournament. But, in tournament play, he has seemed to turn a corner of sorts and come on stronger than ever. Oberste is coming off being names the Charlottesville Regional MVP and will look to continue his streak. He provides a solid hitting spot in the middle of the lineup and the South Carolina pitchers will certainly be aware of him.
Matt Oberste could be the spark that the Sooners need offensively. If they can limit their fielding errors and back the pitcher up, they have a good shot at pushing the Gamecocks to the verge of breaking.