“If they win the Bedlam series, I think they’ll host.”
So uttered Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com in the site’s weekly podcast on Monday, predicting that the Oklahoma Sooners (34-18, 12-9 Big 12) will host a regional for the first time since 2010 if they win the Bedlam series against Oklahoma State (24-25, 6-14 Big 12) this weekend. Normally, that’s a daunting proposition. But the Pokes are in the middle of a highly disappointing season that has a chance to end not just before regionals, but before the Big 12 Tournament — a tourney that only one Big 12 team doesn’t make. Yikes.
The (Probable) Matchups
Thursday, 7:05 p.m. (Tulsa): Jake Irvin (6-0, 2.67) vs. Tyler Buffett (5-5, 4.72)
Friday, 7:05 p.m. (OKC): Devon Perez (5-2, 3.69) vs. Joe Lienhard (2-2, 4.73)
Saturday, 7:05 p.m. (OKC): Kyle Tyler (0-1, 4.50) vs. Blake Battenfield (2-4, 5.11)
Bedlam baseball is kind of like Red River football — OK not really, but my point is that they’re both played on a neutral site. For baseball, the series splits between Tulsa and OKC, and this year it’s Thursday at OneOK before the final two games in Bricktown.
The series got moved up from its normal Friday start to give players more rest before the Big 12 Tournament, which starts on Wednesday — though, as I mentioned, the Pokes might not be there.
That’s not to say the Cowboys don’t have some big guns. Outfielder Garrett McCain is tearing up the league with a .393/.496/.550 line, and OSU’s other Garrett, third baseman Benge, is batting .308 with nine homers.
It’s mostly the pitching staff that’s not working for OSU, and Oklahoma should be able to continue its impressive offensive output this weekend.
It would be huge for Pete Hughes and the Sooners to host another regional this season, and I think a Bedlam series win, or especially a sweep, would all but lock it up. That said, this team is going to have to improve between now and the postseason to stand a chance of moving closer to Omaha. The OU bullpen coughed up too many leads against TCU, and walkoffs are great and all, but that’s not a sustainable model for success.
The rotation also had a rough go as the ballgames went on. Those third trips through the order got pretty ugly, with Tyler especially struggling to maintain command of the zone. If the Sooners win Bedlam, great — but keep an eye on the pitching as the series goes along.
At this point it would be weird to predict anything but OU taking two out of three, since that seems to happen every weekend now.