The Sooners are off to a very nice start in 2017, having swept a two-game midweek series against Grambling State after taking two of three against the formidable Long Beach State Dirtbags.
This week it’s time for the 19 Ways Invitational, a reference to Pete Hughes’s charitable organization that tries to serve the community in 19 ways each year. Villanova, Northern Illinois and Boston College are all in town for the matchup. The Wildcats will play OU on Friday and Saturday night, while Northern Illinois is the Saturday afternoon matchup and Boston College finishes things off on Sunday.
The (Probable) Matchups
Friday: Jake Irvin (1-0, 0.00) vs. Hunter Schryver (0-1, 4.50), 3 p.m., FSOK
Saturday: Kyle Tyler (0-0, 3.18) vs. Joe Hawks (0-0, 0.00), 12 p.m., SoonerSports.TV
Saturday: Austin Hansen (0-0, 0.00) vs. Tyler Arella (0-1, 27.00), 6:30 p.m., SoonerSports.TV
Sunday: Dylan Grove (0-0, 1.69) vs. Dan Metzdorf (0-1, 6.23), 12 p.m., FSOK
It’s been an encouraging start from the Oklahoma pitching staff. Austin Hansen is the notable name in the weekend rotation, as his last start came on Tuesday against Grambling. Hansen only threw 2 innings in that game and should be good to go for Villanova.
None of these teams should strike fear into OU hearts. Northern Illinois is a projected middle-of-the-pack MAC team, which would leave it well short of postseason quality, while Villanova and Boston College are considered the dregs of their respective leagues (though BC did come within a game of the College World Series last season). The teams went a combined 1-9 on opening weekend.
It will be a fun series for Hughes, who used to coach Boston College and is probably very happy for the notoriety his charity will receive. But I’d be surprised if the Sooners lose more than one game on the weekend. They have a good chance to sweep through the series.
Irvin looked dominant in his Friday night start against Long Beach a week ago, striking out 10 and allowing just one hit through 7 innings. Meanwhile, the OU offense is also off running with 14 extra base hits through five games. Jack Flansburg is one to keep an eye on after hitting .571 and slugging 1.000 through 14 at-bats.
Oklahoma will ride its momentum through a weekend series sweep, leaving it 8-1 on the early season. Kyler Murray will get a start and continue asserting himself into the lineup.
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