The Oklahoma Sooners (27-9, 5-4) are hitting the pause button on Big 12 play this weekend, instead traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich. for a first-ever Great Lake State series against the Michigan Wolverines (26-7, 6-3).
OU is 12-3 all-time versus UMich, but the programs haven’t played in a decade. Both teams look regional-quality at least this year, but are trending in different directions. Oklahoma has suddenly lost six of its last 12 and three out of four, while Michigan just won a weekend series against Illinois and a midweek contest with Eastern Michigan.
The (Probable) Matchups
Thursday: Dylan Grove (1-2, 2.38) vs. Oliver Jaskie (4-1, 4.19), 3 p.m., BTN+
Friday: Nathan Wiles (4-1, 2.61) vs. Ryan Nutof (3-1, 5.02), 3 p.m., BTN+
Saturday: TBA vs. Michael Hendrickson (3-1, 4.25), 1 p.m., BTN+
Those are some awfully high ERAs on the Michigan starters, which may help Oklahoma recover from its discouraging, lose-to-Oral-Roberts slump.
Jake Irvin is out again after re-aggravating his shoulder in Austin last weekend, and who knows what his timeline is now.
After starting last weekend against #Texas, @OU_Baseball RHP Jake Irvin back out of the rotation this week for precautionary reasons.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) April 13, 2017
The Woverines are all about speed — they’ve swiped 73 bags this season. Second baseman Ako Thomas is the heart of the Michigan lineup with a .346/.465/.378 line and 18 steals this season.
Drew Lugbauer has bashed nine home runs and is slugging .578 for Michigan as well.
OU is going to need its bullpen this weekend, and that unit was superb in Austin. Expect Connor Berry (0.93 ERA, 30 Ks) to rack up innings in Ann Arbor.
Leave it to me to predict an Austin sweep, only to see a series loss. But what the heck, I think this team is talented and will rebound for a 2-win series victory in Michigan.