Historically, OU baseball has struggled in Austin against the Texas Longhorns (20-12, 4-5). Under Augie Garrido, Texas was one of the nation’s best programs. But times are changing south of the river, and Oklahoma (26-6, 4-2) is the hotter squad heading into the weekend.
First-year Longhorns coach David Pierce came to Texas from Tulane, hoping to restore the program’s past glory. A series win against the surprising Sooners would be big for him, but OU has won its last two Austin series in 2013 and 2015.
The (Probable) Matchups
Friday: Dylan Grove (1-1, 2.86) vs. Nolan Kingham (4-2, 1.02), 7 p.m., FS1
Saturday: Jake Irvin (5-0, 1.16) vs. Morgan Cooper (3-2, 1.44), 4 p.m., Longhorn Network
Sunday: ?????, 2:30 p.m., Longhorn Network
Neither team has announced its Sunday starter, but the OU rotation has proven extremely deep and the team has options.
The Sooners get a huge boost with the return of Jake Irvin on Saturday. Irvin began the year as Oklahoma’s Friday-night strikeout machine, but missed his last two starts. Pete Hughes and Skip Johnson will be careful with him, but he’ll be a huge asset no matter how long he can go.
Oh yeah, about Johnson? He only coached at Texas for nine years, until this past offseason. It’s going to be glorious watching the OU pitching staff mow down his former team.
Not only is Irvin back, but OU’s hottest hitter Austin O’Brien has returned from a UCL injury and hit a grand slam during his return game on Tuesday. O’Brien is batting .380/.444/.634 for the season and provides a huge jolt to the Sooners offense just as Big 12 play heats up.
For UT, Roger Clemens’s kid Kacy (who spells it like that?) is hitting .313 with 28 runs scored and 11 doubles. Catcher Michael McCann is batting .368 and slugging .439.
If Oklahoma can get knocks against the excellent Texas starting staff, it should be just fine. In a Thursday podcast, the guys at D1Baseball predicted that Oklahoma will host a regional at the end of the season. That’s a huge jump from their preseason prediction that OU wouldn’t even make the playoffs, and goes to show just how impressive this season has been. Let’s keep it up.
The Sooners probably haven’t swept UT in Austin since Hoover was president but screw it, I’m calling it, OU sweeps and parties its way closer to TCU at the top of the Big 12.