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College Baseball Preview - Texas Longhorns At #17 Oklahoma

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You hate to say that the Oklahoma Sooners are struggling in baseball but we have to, "call'em as we see'em" and OU has dropped two of their last three games including back-to-back losses in which they blew sizable leads. OU now preps to begin Big XII play against arch-rival Texas and fans honestly don't know what to expect.

The Sooners have been good, bad and ugly through the non-conference slate and Texas is a team that finished first in the conference in 2011 and also earned a trip to the college world series but has a losing record coming into Norman. I kept expecting the Longhorns to right the ship so to speak but it just hasn't happened yet. Hopefully they won't get it going this weekend either.

Texas currently sits at 7-8 which earns them the worst record in the conference and also makes them the only team in the Big XII with a losing record in baseball. They return 17 players from last year's team that earned the trip to Omaha and are currently on a two game winning streak.

Game one of the weekend series will start at 6:30 this evening and will feature a pitching match-up between Oklahoma's Dillon Overton and Nathan Thornhill of Texas. Thornhill is a righty who has established a 2-1 record this season and a 2.73 ERA. He's worked 26.1 innings in six game appearances. During that time he as allowed 24 hits and 12 runs to score while also striking out 21 batters.

Overton is coming off a complete game performance over the weekend that earned him the conference pitcher of the week award. He has a 3-0 record and a 2.84 ERA. Oklahoma's lefty has worked 31.2 innings over the course of six appearances in which he allowed 27 hits and 14 runs to score while striking out 30 batters.

Saturday's game two is scheduled for a 2:00 pm start. The Sooners will be throwing Jonathan Gray, who was the Big XII's newcomer of the week, against Ricky Jacquez of Texas. This will be a righty on righty match-up up with both pitchers facing their struggles throughout the early part of this season. Jacquez has a 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA. He's made five appearances in which he's pitched 16 innings allowing 15 hits and eight runs while striking out 20 batters.

Gray seemed to have put everything together last Saturday when he led the Sooners to a victory over ninth ranked Oregon. On the season he has a 2-2 record with a 4.98 ERA. He's worked 21.2 innings during his five starts and has struck out 22 batters while also allowing 26 hits and 12 runs to score.

The third and final meeting of the series is set for Sunday at 1:00. It will be Oklahoma's lefty, Steven Okert, against Texas righty, Parker French who has a 2-0 record with a 2.95 ERA. French has made 11 appearances for the Longhorns this season and has fanned 8 batters in the 21.1 innings he's pitched. He's also allowed 8 runs to score and 18 hits.

Okert has 4.78 ERA and 2-1 record on the season. He's made five game appearances with a total of 26.1 innings pitched which is second on the team to Dillon Overton. He has given up 26 hits and 14 runs while also striking out 16 batters, which is also second most on the team to Overton.

The Longhorns don't have a batter who is hitting above .300. They are led by Tim Maitland who is batting .289. Brooks Marlow leads the team in RBIs with 10 and home runs with two. He's batting .277 on the season.

In the other dugout the Sooners have five players batting .300 or better led by Max White who has come on recently to raise his average to .355. White also leads the team with 17 RBIs.

Where's Hunter Lockwood?

That's a good question and hopefully this weekend we'll have an answer. He's been noticeably absent from the Oklahoma lineup recently despite leading the team in home runs (5) and placing second in RBIs (16).