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OU baseball: Sooners fall out of tournament projection, look to rebound in Bedlam

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Brylie Ware

Senior infielder Brylie Ware slides back into third base during the game against Oral Roberts on April 2.

After falling on the wrong end of their first sweep of the season against Texas Tech, Oklahoma finds itself on the outside of D1Baseball’s 64-team tournament projection for the first time all season. The Sooners have consistently been a No. 2 seed in recent projections but are now looking at a potential uphill battle to try to earn any spot in the field.

Oklahoma gave up 25 runs against Texas Tech, by far the most it has given up during a three game stretch all season. The Red Raiders — who lead the Big 12 and rank ninth nationally in runs per game (8.1) — found a way to get after Oklahoma’s pitching staff even when fighting from behind in games one and two. 

But the Sooners have to turn their season around quickly to re-establish themselves on the inside of the tournament bubble come the selection show on May 27. Fortunately for them, big games are still to be played and, of course, big wins are on the table.

What’s left for the Sooners before the tournament selection are three games against No. 18 Oklahoma State, three road games against Texas and the double-elimination Big 12 tournament.

For now, their minds are set on the highly anticipated Bedlam series against the Cowboys. The Sooners have lost seven straight games against Oklahoma State dating back to 2016, including a three-game sweep in 2018 in which Oklahoma could only scratch across three total runs. The Cowboys also fell to Texas Tech by way of a three game sweep but is entering the weekend fresh off a sweep over then-No. 3 Oregon State.

“Oklahoma State’s like the 1927 Yankees around here, they’re good,” head coach Skip Johnson said. “I mean they just got through beating Oregon State (three times). We’re going into it as the (under)dog and that’s a good thing.”

The Sooners do have some good news however, as sophomore Cade Cavalli is recovering well from his stress reaction, per the Oklahoman, and is the expected starter for Saturday’s game against the Cowboys at Chickasaw Bricktown Park in Oklahoma City. Junior Nathan Wiles is still expected to start on Friday and sophomore Levi Prater will likely get the ball on Sunday. Prater tossed five scoreless innings to begin his outing on Saturday, May 4, but would go on to receive a no decision after Texas Tech erupted for seven runs over the final four innings to spark a 7-3 victory.

“(Prater) was really good,” Johnson said. “I can’t even explain...He would have probably been in the seventh or eighth inning if some things went the other way behind the plate.”

Brady Lindsly has led the way offensively for the Sooners as of late. The junior catcher had six hits in 13 at-bats and either knocked in or scored nine runs against Texas Tech.

“I think the biggest thing is we gotta continue to learn, more than anything,” Johnson said. “Learn who we are, learn what we’re gonna do when adversity hits and we’ll see. The biggest thing is we’ll have to see (how we’ll respond to) it (being) the first time we’ve been swept all year on the weekend…It’s a game of failure, and we have to understand that.”

The Sooners and Cowboys will square off on Friday evening in Tulsa, before moving to Oklahoma City on Saturday and finishing the weekend on Sunday, May 12, in Norman, where Brylie Ware, Ryan Madden and Blake Brewster will be honored on senior day.

 

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