With the weather outside, for the most part, still very wintry-like and things just now starting to heat up in the 2012-13 Big 12 men's basketball race, it' seems like a big stretch to switch thoughts to warmer images of spring baseball, but the truth is, the college baskeball season is less than a month off. Can you believe it?
The season begins the weekend of Feb. 15, with Oklahoma taking on Hofstra, out of the Colonial Athletic Association, in a four-game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman.
Another sign that spring is just around the corner is the preseason college baseball rankings. And, again, this coming season, coach Sunny Golloway's Sooners are ranked in the preseason as one of college baseball's top-25 teams. Collegiate Baseball, the USA Today coaches' poll and Baseball America all rank Oklahoma in the top 20 to start the 2013 season.
The Sooners' highest preseason ranking is 14th by Collegiate Baseball, the highest Big 12 team ranked in that poll. USA Today and Baseball America has Oklahoma ranked a little lower, at 16th and 19th, respectively.
The Sooners, 42-25 a year ago with a third-place finish in the Big 12 race, return the bulk of their strong pitching rotation from last season, losing only starter Jordan John. Right-handed starter Jonathan Gray and impressive southpaw Dillon Overton are back for another go in 2013. Gray and Overton, both juniors, were a combined 14-7 last season, and both posted an earned-run average just over three runs per nine innings.
On offense, OU is expected to be led by hard-hitting seniors Max White and infielder Jack Mayfield. White was an All-Region Second Team selection in 2012 by the American Baseball Coaches Association, and Mayfield was named to the Charlottesville (Va.) All-Regional in the NCAA Baseball Championship last season.
This is the fifth consecutive season Oklahoma has been ranked in the college baseball preseason top 25 polls. The Sooners are hoping to make their sixth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and 36th appearance overall. Oklahoma has been to the College World Series 10 times and brought home national championships in 1951 and again in 1994.
Oklahoma will begin Big 12 play the weekend of March 22 at home againsat TCU. Thge Horned Frogs are ranked ahead of the Sooners, in 12th, in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll.
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