COLUMN: Despite dropping 3 of last 4 games, OU baseball can recover before conference play opens
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
After dropping a midweek matchup against UT Arlington on Wednesday, the No. 17 Oklahoma baseball team was tasked with traveling to Los Angeles for a must-win series.
But the Sooners (12-4) did not live up to the challenge, losing two of three games on the West Coast. The series loss was their first of the season.
OU dropped the first and third games of the series against USC, 5-3, and No. 22 Notre Dame, 6-5, in 11 innings, despite taking a one-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. The team’s lone win was in shutout fashion against No. 12 UCLA, 4-0, on Saturday.
In the Sooners’ two losses, one similar theme was present: runners left on base. In those two affairs, they stranded 16 runners — eight potential runs in each game — en route to a three-run total differential.
On the mound, OU received three solid starts from juniors Dillon Overton and Jonathan Gray and freshman Adam Choplick. The three combined for the decision trifecta — a win, a loss and a no decision — went 20 innings, allowed nine runs and struck out 16 batters.
Overton tossed a compete game in his loss, and Choplick lasted five innings and allowed four runs on six hits en route to a no decision Sunday.
Gray, who started the team’s only win, tossed seven innings of shutout ball while striking out eight batters and allowing five hits.
Junior first baseman/designated hitter Matt Oberste extended his hitting streak, dating back to last season, to 19 games by going 4-for-13 with five RBIs and a homer over the weekend. The home run was his fifth of the season, and Oberste is hitting at a .429 clip.
This past week, which featured a 1-3 four-game road trip, is not all doom and gloom for the Sooners.
Although losing to UT Arlington hurt, playing well despite not winning the weekend series against three legitimate opponents should have caught the eye of some of those paying attention around the country. The fact OU played tough this weekend — as well as last weekend against Pepperdine — should be reflected well in the team’s RPI.
The Sooners still have almost two weeks until the start of conference play — they play TCU in a weekend series starting March 22 in Norman to open their Big 12 slate — so their seven home games until then provide more than enough time to recover from this losing week.
OU returns to the diamond to start a two-game, midweek series against New Mexico State. The series’ first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the series’ concluding game for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Jono Greco is a journalism graduate