Kyle Laferriere-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma Sooners will enter the 2013 baseball season carrying the #16 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and #19 in the Baseball America Top 25 Poll. OU currently has a streak of five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and will be focused on returning to Omaha this summer. Over the next few days we'll be previewing the 2013 Sooners, starting with the infield.
Max White heads a group of seniors in Oklahoma's infield that will be looked upon heavily to be the physical and emotional leaders of the team. A first team all conference selection last season, White is the perfect definition of a utility player. During his first three seasons at OU he has started games in all three outfield positions as well as first, second and third base and let's not forget that he's also started just as a DH.
Last season White was the only member of the baseball team to start all 67 games and he did so at four different positions (41 at CF, 19 at 1B, 4 at 3B and 2 at LF). He had career highs in batting averages (.337) and RBIs (55). Another interesting stat on White is that he led the team with 25 two-out RBI.
Senior Garrett Carey is mostly remembered for his ninth inning walk-off home run against Oklahoma State last season but he has become a staple at third base where he started 60 games last season. A JUCO transfer from McLennan College, Carey batted .209 in his first season as a Sooner, with 24 RBI and two home runs.
Jack Mayfield recorded career highs in batting average (.280) RBI (34) and home runs (3) last season. He was named to the 2012 All-Big 12 Tournament team as well as the Charlottesville All-Regional team. Although last season was his first year not to pitch at OU (after recording a career 2.88 ERA and 5-1 record as a freshman and a sophomore), Mayfield is still listed as an infield player as well as a pitcher.
These three seniors will be at the heart of Oklahoma's 2013 campaign. Obviously they aren't the only players on the field but there effort and leadership will either hold this team together when a game is on the line or let it fall completely apart. White and Mayfield are both four-year starters now and heading into their final season as Sooners. They were freshmen when the team went to Omaha in 2010 and would love for nothing more than to end their Oklahoma careers there as well. In order for that to happen, they are going to need the additional support of the guys that they share the dirt with.
The departure of Hunter Lockwood makes room for junior Dylan Neal to be the full-time catcher. He made 30 appearances last season with 23 starts. Oklahoma will need him to get more consistent with a bat in his hands though. He only hit .153 for the year with 7 RBI. Jake Smith (also a junior) will most likely make some appearances behind the plate as well.
Matt Oberste ended his sophomore year on fire! In the Big 12 Tournament he hit three home runs to earn All-Tournament honors and the followed that up by recording seven hits and driving in six runs during the Charlottesville Regional resulting in him being named the regional MVP. For the season he batted .312 and drove in 22 RBI.
Dusty Dishman played sparingly in 2012 making just 10 appearances, with four starts (2B, SS and RF). A junior transfer last season from Temple College, he recorded just one hit in 13 at bats.
Junior Hector Lorenzana is one of five current players to have transferred to Oklahoma from Howard College. Last season he batted .380 and had a .404 on base percentage.
The Sooners begin their 2013 baseball season next Friday (February 15th) with a four-game home stand against Hofstra.