Sooners Ready for Non-Conference Series at UCF

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Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 10, 2018
May 11-13 | Orlando, Fla. | Joe Euliano Park
UCF
ucf
Oklahoma
Weekend Pitching Match-Ups
First Pitch Oklahoma UCF
Fri. 5:30 p.m. CT RHP-Jake Irvin (6-1, 3.05) RHP-Cre Finfrock (5-0, 3.64)
>>>Last Start vs. KSU (5/4): W, 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 10 K vs. UH (5/4) W, 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 2K
Sat. 5:30 p.m. CT LHP-Levi Prater (2-2, 3.03) TBA
>>>Last Start vs. KSU (5/5: ND, 4.1, 0 ER, 2 K N/A
Sun. Noon CT RHP-Nathan Wiles (4-3, 3.98) LHP-Joe Sheridan (3-2, 2.98)
>>>Last Start vs. KSU (5/6): ND, 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 K vs. UH (5/6): L, 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 3K

FIRST PITCH

The Oklahoma baseball team travels to Orlando, Fla., for its final non-conference series of the regular season this weekend. The Sooners will face the UCF Knights for a three-game series starting Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT. Voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland will call the series across the Sooner Sports Network and locally on Sportstalk 99.3 FM/1400 AM. The games can also be streamed online at Sportstalk1400.com or on the TuneIn mobile app. All three games will be streamed live on UCFKnights.tv.

ABOUT THE SOONERS

Oklahoma is 31-18 overall and in third place in the Big 12 with a 13-8 record. The Sooners are hitting .282 as a team, including a .286 mark in conference games to rank third in the league. Junior right fielder Steele Walker leads the way with a .355 average, hitting .390 in 20 conference games, and slugging .608 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI this season. Junior third baseman Brylie Ware is second on the team with a .344 batting average and is fourth on the team with 33 RBI. Ware has a team-best nine-game hitting streak heading into this weekend’s series and was 5-for-9 (.556) during last week’s series against Kansas State. The OU pitching staff owns a 3.80 earned run average on the season, which ranks third in the conference. In Big 12 play, the Sooners boast a 4.12 ERA and lead the conference with a .241 batting average against. Junior right-handed pitcher Jake Irvin, the Sooners’ Friday night starter, is 6-1 with a 3.05 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 73.2 innings worked. Irvin was named Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday after tossing six-shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against Kansas State (5/4). Sophomore right-hander Nathan Wiles is 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA, including a 3.27 mark in league games; ranking fifth in the Big 12. He has struck out 43 and walked only 10 in 61.0 innings.

THE FORECAST

Projected Starters
OU Lineup BA/OBP/SLG Notes
LF-Cade Harris .277/.437/.440 3rd in NCAA in BB (50) and 19th in R (53)
SS-Brandon Zaragoza .283/.355/.316 Made 97 consecutive start at shortstop.
RF-Steele Walker .355/.453/.608 Hit nine home runs in the last 20 games.
CF-Kyler Murray .288/.377/.509 2-for-4 with HR, 4 RBI vs. K-State (5/4)
C-Brady Lindsly .294/.380/.399 Hit first HR of the season at Texas Tech (4/20).
3B-Brylie Ware .344/.413/.454 .360 BA, 6 2B, 18 RBI in Big 12 play.
2B-Kyle Mendenhall .317/.359/.414 Fourth all-time at OU with 506 career assists.
1B-Cade Cavalli .226/.354/.336 Hit third HR of the season at Texas Tech (4/21).
DH-Tyler Hardman .222/.286/.325 Had game-tying two-RBI 2B vs. K-State (5/6)

IRVIN EARNS BIG 12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK HONORS

Jake Irvin earned his second weekly conference honor of the season and was named Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced on Monday. The junior right-hander led the Sooners to a 12-0 shutout win over Kansas State on Friday night. The Bloomington, Minn., native shared the weekly award with TCU’s Haylen Green. Irvin pitched six-scoreless innings as OU claimed its fifth shutout of the season. Irvin along with Ryan Madden and Zack Matthews combined for a three-hitter to open the series against Kansas State. Irvin struck out 10 in Friday’s victory, marking the fourth time this season the junior has picked up at least 10 strikeouts in a start. It also marked the first time Irvin has recorded back-to-back starts against a conference opponent with 10-plus strikeouts in his OU career. The award is the second of the year for Irvin and the third earned by a Sooner pitcher this season.

PITCHING DOMINATES AGAINST K-STATE

OU’s pitching staff was dominant in its three-game series sweep over Kansas State, posting a 1.00 ERA with two shutouts. In Friday’s night 12-0 win over K-State, Jake Irvin, Ryan Madden and Zack Matthews combined for a three-hit shutout and recorded 14 strikeouts. The Sooners tossed another three-hitter on Saturday to earn a 2-0 victory, using seven different pitchers to clinch the series over the Wildcats.

FRIDAY ACE

Jake Irvin has started all 12 series openers for Oklahoma this season and 10 of 12 weekend game ones as a sophomore in 2017. He is 12-2 in those 24 starts with 14 starts of six innings or more. When Irvin won the series opener, the Sooners have won 11 of 12 series. When Irvin took a loss, no-decision or did not start game one, OU has won five of 12 series.

SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS

UCF fell in a midweek contest to Florida Atlantic, 11-8, on Tuesday night in West Palm Beach, Fla. In its last AAC series, UCF took two out of three from Houston to move to 11-10 in the league. Rylan Thomas leads UCF with a .368 batting average and 12 home runs this season. Thomas is tied with Tyler Osik for the team lead with 53 RBI. Osik is hitting .324 with nine home runs. UCF’s pitching staff is limiting opponents to a .214 average this season and has a 3.14 ERA as a staff. Cre Finfrock has made five starts for the Knights this season, and has a 5-0 record with a 3.46 ERA.

LAST TIME THEY MET

In the previous meeting, UCF topped the Sooners, 4-1, in Orlando in 2014. It was a pitcher’s duel between UCF right-hander Spencer Davis and the OU bullpen. The Knights totaled six hits, while the Sooners managed just five. Davis tossed 6.2 innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits and four walks, while striking out four.For Oklahoma, left-hander Adam Choplick ran into trouble in the fourth inning and was credited for all four runs, all earned, on five hits, three hit batsmen and a walk in 3.2 innings. For OU, Hunter Haley was 2-for-5 with one run scored.

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