Sooner Baseball Travels To Austin To Face Longhorns In Three-Game Series

Brendan Maloney - USA Today Sports

The two best pitching staffs in the Big 12 go head-to-head this weekend as Oklahoma travels to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns. The Sooners are putting their conference best 5-1 record on the line in their fist road series against a Big 12 opponent. Meanwhile the Longhorns are trying to dig their way out of the conference cellar and improve on their 2-4 record.

Oklahoma at Texas

Friday, April 5, 6:30 p.m. CT

Saturday, April 6, 2:30 p.m. CT

Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m. CT

TV

Longhorn Network (Games 1, 3)
FOX Sports Net (Game 2)

Radio

Sooner Sports Network
KREF 1400 AM

Behind the arms of Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton, Oklahoma boasts a Big 12 best 2.78 ERA. The Longhorns are right on Oklahoma's heels though with a 2.81 ERA. Sophomore Parker French has built a 3-1 record and a 2.17 ERA in six starts this year. He has sat down 21 batters this season to just seven walks. Dillon Peters (also a sophomore) has a 2.68 ERA and a 1-2 record on the season while junior Nathan Thornhill is sitting at 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA.

Not only has Jonathan Gray worked his way into being a first round draft pick this season, Oklahoma's junior righty is starting to see his name tossed around as possibly being the first overall pick in this year's MLB draft. In seven starts he has built a 5-1 record and a 1.34 ERA. Gray has only walked nine batters this season but has fanned 63 and given up just 27 hits. Dillon Overton has the team's best record at 6-1 and the second best ERA, among the starters, at 2.55 this season. The question mark on Oklahoma's staff is the condition of Sunday starter Adam Choplick who missed the start last Sunday with a tender shoulder. Choplick is 3-0 on the year with a 2.88 ERA. If he's not good to go then there's a solid chance that we'll see Jacob Evans get the start. Typically a mid-week starter, Evans has a 5-0 record this season with a 0.62 ERA. With no mid-week game this week, or next, it makes sense that we might see him at some point over the weekend.

While the Sooners and Longhorns have the two best hitters in the conference as well, there is a bit of separation between the two when it comes to team batting average. Matt Oberste is hitting a Big 12 best .460 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. As a team the Sooners are batting .294 which places them with the fourth best average in the conference. On the season, Oklahoma has 18 home runs that have been hit by seven different players.

Texas junior Mark Payton is second in the Big 12 in batting average at .421. He's driven in 16 RBI this season and has 55 total bases to his credit. As a team the Longhorns are batting .269 (6th in the Big 12) and have a total of six home runs hit by four different players.

Two of the most noticeable stats when comparing the two teams are strikeouts and RBI's. Oklahoma's pitching staff has fanned a conference high 272 batters this season with Texas at 170 on the year. The Sooners have produced 161 RBI on the season while Texas has 100 runs batted in.

Regardless of stats and rankings, you know the drill on this one. These two schools would hate each other even in a cow tipping contest (see what I did there?) so you can never under play the value of emotion. Both sides will need to harness and control that emotion this weekend in order to gain a much needed series win. The Longhorns are 13-4 at home this season and 16-10 overall. Oklahoma is 3-2 in away games this season with a 25-5 overall ranking.

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