The Sooners (23-5, 2-1) return home this weekend to take on Texas Tech (24-4, 3-0) at L. Dale Mitchell. As impressive as OU has been this season, Tech is meeting and exceeding its own lofty preseason expectations so far. The entire college baseball community will have a close eye on this series. If the Sooners win, suddenly a Big 12 title seems entirely possible.
The (Probable) Matchups
Friday: Dylan Grove (0-1, 3.22) vs. Davis Martin (4-1, 2.57), 6:30 p.m., SoonerSports.TV
Saturday: Devon Perez (4-1, 3.67) vs. Steven Gingery (5-0, 1.05), 2 p.m., FSOK+
Sunday: TBA vs. Ryan Shetter (2-0, 3.09), 1 p.m., FCSC
Without Jake Irvin or Kyle Tyler, the Sooners are definitely not throwing their best guys in this one. However, the starting staff has proven surprisingly deep and resilient, and there’s no reason a one-two punch of Grove and Perez can’t hang with Tech.
.@OU_Baseball HC Pete Hughes tell me P Jake Irvin TBA, but unlikely to go this weekend against Texas Tech. P Kyle Tyler also TBA right now.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) March 30, 2017
Well okay, there are a few reasons. The Raiders outfield is loaded, with Ryan Long and Grant Little both batting around .370. Meanwhile, junior third baseman Hunter Hargrove has swiped seven bases and is hitting .360/.407/.596, boating a team-high 68 total bases in 114 ABs.
The Tech pitching staff is no slouch, either. Martin and Gingery both have minuscule ERAs, and Gingery’s struck out 44 in 42.2 innings. With a .154 BAA, the Sooners will have to hope he gets a little wild and adds to his 12 walks (or 5 HBPs) on Saturday.
Truth is, the Raiders might be even better than TCU, which was a lot of people’s preseason No. 1. They’re deep, experienced and prolific on both sides of the ball. Asking the Sooners to beat them without their best hitter (Austin O’Brien) or pitcher (Irvin) is a tough task.
Hopefully, the Norman crowd will show up and show out. Not that it affects the game so much — this is baseball, not college hoops at Cameron Indoor Stadium — but the team deserves it, and this is the most important series they’ve played in a long time.
I think the Sooners will take one. I’d love to be wrong and see them take two or — could it be? — three. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were swept, either. So basically I’m saying anything could happen. The Sooners are definitely good, but it’s still unclear if they’re regional good or World Series good, and they’ll need a World Series weekend to beat Tech.