College Baseball Preview | #7 Texas At Oklahoma

Rich DeCray SBN

The Red River Rivalry moves to the baseball diamond this weekend

No. 7 Texas (26-8, 6-3) at Oklahoma (23-11, 4-2)

Location:

Norman, Okla. - L. Dale Mitchell Park (3,180)

Radio:

KREF Sports Talk 1400 AM / 98.5 FM
Toby Rowland
Chris Plank

TV:

FOX College Sports-Central (Friday)
SoonerSports.tv (Saturday)
ESPNU (Sunday)

Live Stats:

SoonerSports.com

Pitching Match-Ups

6:00 PM Friday:

RHP-Corey Copping (So., 2-0, 3.06)
RHP-Parker French (Jr., 4-2, 1.93)

4:00 PM Saturday:

LHP-Adam Choplick (RSo., 3-1, 3.59)
LHP-Dillon Peters (Jr., 4-2, 2.72)

2:30 PM Sunday:

RHP-Jake Elliott (Fr., 2-3, 3.61)
RHP-Nathan Thornhill (Sr., 5-0, 0.73)

When it comes to rivalry games, there's no better way to play them than to have first place on the line. The top spot in the Big Twelve baseball standings are up for grabs this weekend as the Sooners and Longhorns face off in Norman. With an equal .667 winning percentage in conference play, Oklahoma and Texas come into this three-game series having both lost their mid-week game.

Led by Mark Payton's batting average of .361, the Longhorns are seventh in the Big Twelve in team batting with a collective average of .263 for the year. Payton has knocked in 25 RBI on the season and is one of five Longhorns to go yard this season. Ben Johnson (.296) is the only Texas player with more than one homer. That makes his three round-trippers the most on the team and he's tied with Tres Barrera with 17 RBI, which places both of them just behind Payton.

The Texas lineup will face an Oklahoma starting rotation that has been solid this season but not stellar. Corey Copping and Adam Choplick boast winning records but have also had a lot of support from the arms coming out of the bullpen. As a team the Sooners have a collective 3.05 ERA (3rd best in the Big Twelve) and will need to be their absolute best on the mound to give OU an opportunity to come away with a series win.

The strength-on-strength in this series will be the Oklahoma bats vs. the Texas arms. With a team ERA of 2.13. the Longhorns will bring the ultimate test to a Sooners lineup that has struggled to produce runs at times this season. Friday starter Parker French has a sub 2.00 ERA and Texas' Sunday starter Nathan Thornhill is at a Big XII best 0.73 ERA.

The Sooners are second in the conference in team batting. Led by Mac James (.403), Oklahoma has a collective .294 average. James is one of six Sooners to hit a home run this season with five of the six having done it multiple times. Freshman Sheldon Neuse's 27 RBI are the most among the team but Hunter Haley (26) and James (25) are just behind him.

With Big Twelve play nearing the halfway mark on the year, this is a huge weekend series that goes beyond the long established rivalry. Both teams have the opportunity to establish themselves as the lone school atop the conference standings, and both would love nothing more than to do it at the expense of the other.

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