The Oklahoma Sooners close out the regular season with a non-conference road trip to Austin Peay. While the bats have come alive, pushing 75 runs across the plate in the last eight outings, the pitching rotation continues to lack a solid third starting option.
Regardless, it appears as though Pete Hughes hopes Alec Hansen can find a bit of control. When Hansen settles into a rhythm, the junior looks the part of one of the nation's premier collegiate hurlers. However, the opposite holds true as well. The right handed pitcher gets the nod for game two of the double header on Thursday.
That leaves Hansen sandwiched between two freshman. RHP Jake Irvin held the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys to a single run over the past weekend. The effort earned Irvin a fifth win on the season to a single loss. Earning another start before the conference tournament begins, the coaching staff expects much from the freshman.
For game three on Friday, Dylan Grove has been slotted to start. Fans witnessed Grove take the mound during the Bedlam Series in the rubber match. With poise and composure in a big moment, the Oklahoma City native surrendered a single run, matching the performance of fellow freshman Irvin.
The two have quickly become quite the duo.
Playing some of the best baseball to date, Cody Thomas earned Big XII Player of the Week after driving in seven runs over the weekend. Alex Wise continues to enjoy a 13 game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the Big XII. That leaves Sheldon Neuse, a top three statistical hitter in the conference, to round out a powerful trio.
Standing 26-24-1 on the year, Oklahoma must win the Big XII Tournament for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The outing against Austin Peay marks the final time the Sooners have to make adjustments. Assuming a third starting pitcher emerges, OU can make a run as the hitting continues to power the team. It only takes four wins in the conference tourney to secure a berth in the NCAAs.