The Sooners are looking to bounce back on the baseball diamond this weekend after posting a 1-2 record last week at the UCF Tournament in Orlando, FL. Playing a four-game schedule, that begins tonight, Oklahoma are in Surprise, Arizona for the ASU Tournament.
OU led the Big XII in batting before the trip to Orlando last weekend but struggles from the plate saw them drop to a team average of .292, which ranks them fifth in the Big XII behind Kansas (.318), West Virginia (.305), Texas Tech (.300), and Oklahoma State (.294).
Junior Mac James leads the Sooners in batting average at .444 on the year, with seven RBI. Sophomore Hunter Haley lead the team in RBI with 11 and has dinged three home runs this season. Craig Aikin (.324), Kolbey Carpenter (.357), and Taylor Alspaugh (.417) make up the five Sooners currently batting above .300 on the season.
The pitching rotation takes a bit of a change this weekend with Corey Copping making the game one start on Thursday. Copping is 1-0 on the season, with a 0.00 ERA, and will be making his first weekend start. Adam Choplick (1-1, 4.66 ERA) stays in his normal spot as the second day starter and Jake Elliott (1-1, 3.75) will start game three on Sunday. What's uncertain is who will throw for Oklahoma in the Finale on Sunday. You have to think that Jacob Evans (0-1, 7.36) will have the opportunity but I'm also going to be watching to see how much Coach Hughes uses Drew Krittenbrink (0.00 ERA) in the first three days.
Scouting The Field
Manhattan Jaspers (1-3) - Oklahoma opens the tournament against a Manhattan team that has struggled to find success on the field this season. Riding a two-game losing streak (as are the Sooners) going into the tournament, the Jaspers have been outscored 25-16 this season and are giving up an average of 6.25 runs per game. Catcher Brendan Slattery is a beast from the plate though and is batting at an average of .583 this season with 2 RBI. Freshman pitcher Matt Simonetti (0-1, 12.46) will be looking for his first win of the season when he takes the mound against OU on Thursday night.
Santa Clara Broncos (8-7) - Riding a four-game winning streak heading into the desert, Santa Clara blew through the Irish Baseball Classic last weekend in South Bend. Center fielder Greg Harisis is batting .375 on the season and has crossed home plate ten times. He's the only Bulldog player to go yard this season with two homers to his credit. Steve Wilson (0-0, 3.55) is slated to throw against the Sooners on Friday. He's looking to pick up his first win of the season and will be making his third start.
Arizona State Sun Devils (3-4) - The Sun Devils started the season by taking two of three games from the Baylor Bears but then dropped three games in a row the following week before picking up their third win of the season in a 7-2 decision over Wright State last Sunday. Brian Steven leads the way for ASU with a .385 batting average on the year. He's one of four players to have driven in a team-high three RBI. Lefty Ryan Kellogg (0-1, 5,73) takes the mound against Oklahoma on Saturday.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-6) - The Zags come into the Classic as the team with the most struggles on the still young season. Already familiar with Santa Clara, they fell to the Bulldogs, 3-2, in the Irish Baseball Classic. Mitch Gunsolus is batting .519 on the season with 4 RBI and Payden Lamb is hitting .308 and is tied for the team high in RBI with six. Gonzaga is still waiting to hit their first home run of the season. Its unclear who will be taking the mound for Gonzaga against Oklahoma on Sunday. The Bulldogs have a team ERA of 5.10 on the season.
Oklahoma's games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are scheduled for 5:00 PM starts and Sunday's finale against Gonzaga is scheduled for a Noon start.