Sooners Host Arkansas-Little Rock In Doubleheader

USA Today Sports

Trying to rebound from a losing weekend at Baylor, the Oklahoma baseball team returns to L. Dale Mitchell Park tonight for a two game set against Arkansas-Little Rock. While earning a two-game sweep is vital tonight, the development of pitching is equally important and this is a series that could allow the Sooners to do just that.

This post will also serve as today's game thead.

Game 1 Tuesday, April 16, 3 p.m. CT
Game 2 Tuesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. CT
Location Norman, Okla. | L. Dale Mitchell Park
TV Game 1 FS Southwest
TV Game 2 Fox College Sports Central
Radio KREF 1400

On Monday Oklahoma junior pitcher Dillon Overton was named the Big 12's Pitcher of the Week. He and Jonathan Gray have combined for 13-3 record and have been nearly untouchable all season long. However, as Baylor showed last weekend, if you can get past one of them on Friday or Saturday then you have a legitimate chance to take a series from the Sooners.

How bad has OU's Sunday pitching been? The Sooners scored 10 runs off 13 hits against Baylor on Sunday afternoon and lost by a score of 12-10. It isn't because the team is lacking talent...at least in my opinion. Its because, beyond Overton and Gray, the pitching staff lacks experience. Freshman Adam Choplick is working to overcome a shoulder injury, and really hasn't been the same since he was scratched in the finale of the Kansas series (OU's first Big 12 loss). Ralph Garza Jr. has been stellar as a mid-week starter and coming out of the bullpen. Perhaps its time to put his 3-0 record and 2.38 ERA on the line with a Sunday start.

It will be interesting to see how many arms Coach Golloway uses today and for how long he chooses to use them. Choplick and Corey Copping are slated for the starts tonight and hopefully they can both exercise the demons that have haunted them recently. These are the type of games that could build a young pitcher's confidence but with the importance of picking up the wins how long do you leave a guy in who is struggling?

Tonight could very well be an audition for the Sunday starter position. Arkansas-Little Rock has a team ERA of .276 but also has five players batting over .300 on the year. Blake Johnson leads the team with a .333 batting average and has recorded 29 RBI, along with six home runs. UALR swings for power from the plate. They have a combined 33 home runs hit by ten different batters. From the mound, Arkansas-Little Rock pitchers have a combined 5.46 ERA.

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