This season, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been a surprise team after being picked to finished last in conference. Thanks to a 5-1 record over the past two weekends, WVU sits in fourth at 9-6 with the potential to take over the top spot with a series win over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Needless to say, this is a big weekend for Sunny Golloway and his ball club if they hope to not only win the regular season but also if they plan on hosting a regional. With the mentality that there is no where to go but up, the Mountaineers have proved they are not a team to take lightly.
Things have fallen into place for them really well. We'll go in there and we'll respect them, but we're not going to fear them. - Sunny Golloway
The struggle for Oklahoma will be at the plate. Without star pitcher, Dillon Overton, the Sooners do not have the reliable arm they once had as a weekend starter. That places the pressure back on the offense which has struggled over the past two games exposed by the Texas Tech Red Raiders as well as Dallas Baptist.
After dropping the first two games of the series, the Red Raiders changed their approach in an attempt to slow down the bats Oklahoma possesses that produced 14 runs. The tactic manifested itself in challenging batters with outside pitches instead of throwing to the outside. Coincidentally, Texas Tech won the final game 9-3 after holding the Sooners to a single run through eight innings.
Dallas Baptist came in and used the same tactic, holding Oklahoma scoreless and limiting the Sooners to 3 hits.
What it comes down to is mental preparedness. Across all levels of baseball, you can sit back and watch players swing for the fences as confidence drops due to lack of contact. On the flip side, there are a few players out there who swing to make contact and let the power come with confidence built. Oklahoma simply needs to swing for contact instead of attempting to live up to the power billing OU was tabbed with at the beginning of the season.
West Virginia has an experienced coach who will likely key in on the struggle Oklahoma has.