Now that the 18-3 Sooners have basically breezed through non-conference play, I’m as anxious as anyone to see them play some games in the loaded Big 12. It’s hard to know what to make of this team — on the one hand, you can only win the games on your schedule, and OU has often looked impressive in doing so. But it was a little discouraging to see the bats fall silent in midweek losses to decent Wichita State and Georgia Tech teams.
I’m ready for the bright lights. But first, one last tune-up against the 7-8 Kennesaw State Owls.
The (Probable) Matchups
Friday: Jake Irvin (4-0, 1.08) vs. Tony Dibrell (1-1, 1.14), 5 p.m., ESPN3
Saturday: Austin Hansen (3-0, 0.43) vs. AJ Moore (2-1, 4.71), 1 p.m., ESPN3
Sunday: TBA vs. Mason Ward (1-0, 2.08), 11 a.m., ESPN3
OU hasn’t named a Sunday starter yet, but I’ll venture a guess and say that Devon Perez (3-0, 2.30) will take the mound for his second start of the year. Ryan Madden is also a possibility.
Shoutout to Austin Hansen, who isn’t putting up the gaudy K totals that Jake Irvin is (19 to Irvin’s 36), but has actually been, quietly, even better. He’s allowed almost half as many hits (granted, in four fewer innings) and owns the better BAA, .119 to .169. What a one-two weekend punch!
Actually, the entire rotation is pretty much killing it. OU hasn’t allowed a run before the 7th inning in five games. (So get with it, bullpen.)
Sooners DH Brylie Ware will look to continue the hot hitting that’s netted him a .407 batting average in 59 ABs. Meanwhile, Austin O’Brien was the lynchpin of the Sooners offense, hitting .373/.442/.597 from the cleanup spot, until he hurt his elbow on the last play of the Buffalo series. He could be out for a few weeks, or the rest of the season. Ware, Brady Lindsly and Lorin Archibald will share his innings at first base, but that’s a massive injury for OU — especially in the light of Kyler Murray’s nagging hamstring issues, which still have him sidelined.
Steele Walker, Renae Martinez and Kyle Mendenhall might be able to provide enough power for this team, but they’re going to miss O’Brien in the middle of that lineup.
I’m calling for one more series sweep before things get hairy for the Sooners.