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Pitching Is The Key For Sooner Baseball Victory At Baylor

The Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears are separated by just two games in the Big 12 baseball standings. That makes this weekend's series even bigger for both schools, with the Sooners having a chance to push the Bears further down in the standings and Baylor having the opportunity to take a run at first place.

USA Today Sports




Friday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. CT

Saturday, April 13, 3 p.m. CT

Sunday, April 14, 1 p.m. CT


Waco, Texas | Baylor Ballpark


FOX Sports Southwest (All games)


KREF 1400 AM (Games 1 & 3 Only)

While both teams bring an array of talent into the weekend series, they guys on the mound are most likely going to be the difference makers. Sure, that's stating the obvious but that line of thinking really works for this series. The Sooners (.286) and Bears (.279) are close in team batting averages. Baylor has Nathan Orf, who has the best batting average in the Big 12 at .421 and Oklahoma's Matt Oberste is second with a .414 batting average. The Sooners have gone yard 19 times this year, Baylor 10. Both teams can be dangerous from the plate which puts more emphasis on the guys who will be dealing the ball.

Led by Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton, the Sooners have a Big 12 best 2.58 ERA. Both pitchers are sitting on six wins, which puts them at the top of the conference. Gray has fanned a conference best 71 batters and Overton is the next closest to him at 51 Ks. The question mark this season has been Oklahoma's Sunday starter. Billy Waltrip initially took the role before stepping aside for Adam Choplick. In the last two weeks its been handled by committee, which worked against Texas but failed against Kansas.

Baylor hasn't fared quite as well from the mound this year. The Bears are sixth in the conference in team ERA at 3.59. Crayton Bare is 1-1 on the season, with a 2.56 ERA. Dillon Newman has a 3-2 record and a 3.12 ERA in eight starts this season. He has a team high 38 strikeouts on the season and has only allowed two batters to reach on walks during his 49 innings pitched. Max Garner is sitting at 2-3, with a 3.65 ERA on the year.

Making the most of your advantages is key in winning a three-game series. The Sooners are clearly in front of Baylor in his series when it comes to pitching staffs, especially on Friday and Saturday when Gray and Overton take the mound. Oklahoma is putting first place on the line this weekend in Waco. To come home maintaining that lead they'll have to rely on the arms that have put them in the front of the conference in the first place.