Baseball Hosts Kansas in Big 12 Opener

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
March 22-24 | Norman, Okla. | L. Dale Mitchell Park
Oklahoma
oklahomakansas
Kansas
Pitching Matchup
First Pitch Oklahoma Kansas
Fri. 6:30 p.m. RHP-Cade Cavalli (2-1, 2.05) RHP-Ryan Zeferjahn (3-0, 1.86)
Sat. 6 p.m. RHP-Nathan Wiles (4-0, 2.97) RHP-Ryan Cyr (2-1, 4.85)
Sun. 1 p.m. LHP-Levi Prater (4-1, 1.14) LHP-Eli Davis (2-2, 4.08)

FIRST PITCH

• Oklahoma opens Big 12 play this weekend against Kansas at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Game times are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
• Oklahoma is ranked No. 25 in two national polls this week – the D1Baseball Top 25 and the Collegiate Baseball Poll. This is the second time this season the Sooners have appeared in a national poll. OU was ranked No. 25 in Collegiate Baseball on March 4.
• Oklahoma is at least 18-4 to start a season for the second time in three years. In 2017 – when Skip Johnson joined OU as pitching coach – the team started the season 22-4.
• OU ranks seventh in the country with a 2.43 team ERA. The Sooners rank 12th in the country in triples (9), fifth in shutouts (4) and sixth in double plays (22).
• Sophomore first baseman Tyler Hardman ranks 13th nationally in hits (34), 27th in total bases (53) and 44th in RBIs (24).
• OU leads the Big 12 in ERA (2.43) and walks per nine innings (3.35). Hardman leads the league in hits (34) and is tied for first in RBIs (24). Junior shortstop Brandon Zaragoza is tied for second in runs scored (22) and sophomore outfielder Jordan Vujovich is second in walks (21). Sophomore Levi Prater is second in innings pitched (31.2), third in strikeouts (40) and fourth in opponent batting average (.168).

ON THE AIR

• The games will be broadcast via SoonerSportsTV with Chad McKee and George Frazier on the call. Friday's game will be on SS.tv, Saturday's contest will be on FOX Sports Oklahoma and Sunday will be on FSOK Plus. The TV audio will be simulcast on Sportstalk 1400 AM/99.3 FM and will be streamed Sportstalk1400.com and the TuneIn mobile app.

TICKETS/PROMOTIONS

• On Friday, the first 150 fans through the gates can receive an Oklahoma Baseball 3/4 sleeve t-shirt. 
• Saturday is Military Appreciation Night. The first 150 fans at the stadium can receive an OU camo baseball cap. A postgame fireworks show will follow the contest.
• Sunday is Teacher Appreciation Day. Teachers with valid ID can receive a bundle of 30 Oklahoma baseball pencils.
• After the game on Sunday, and every home Sunday, kids can run the bases and play catch on the field.

CLEAR BAG POLICY/STADIUM ENTRY FOR 2019

• Consistent with all University of Oklahoma Athletics events, a clear bag policy is in effect for the 2019 baseball season at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
• The approved clear plastic bag size is a maximum of 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Stadium policy will allow non-transparent clutch purses that are no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches.
• In addition, metal detectors will be located at each stadium entrance gate.
• Lawn chairs and metal frame seats with chairbacks are allowed in L. Dale Mitchell Park, and will be required to go through appropriate security screening at the main gate west entrance.
• For more information, visit SoonerSports.com/gameday.

ABOUT THE SOONERS

• OU is in its second year under the direction of head coach Skip Johnson. Johnson is 56-29 as OU head coach, and led the Sooners to an NCAA regional appearance last season.
• OU is batting .295 as a team and averaging 7.1 runs per game, with 43 doubles, nine triples and 12 home runs. The Sooners allow opponents 3.1 runs per game and a .223 batting average.
• The Sooners have a 2.43 team ERA with 200 strikeouts to 73 walks in 196.0 innings.
• The starting pitchers have a 1.82 ERA and have struck out 119 batters and allowed 92 hits in 118.2 innings.
• Sophomore Cade Cavalli is on a nine-game hitting streak at the plate and has reached base in 11 straight games. In his last six games as DH, he has batted .481 (13-of-27) with 11 RBIs, nine runs scored, four doubles and two home runs. He homered in consecutive games last weekend against Missouri State. He was the first Sooner to do so since Kyler Murray at UCF last May.
• Junior second baseman Conor McKenna is on an eight-game hitting streak. He has batted .542 (13-for-24) in that span, driving in one run in each contest, including three at UNM on Wednesday. He has scored seven runs and tallied two doubles and a triple during that stretch. His two-run double in the seventh inning Wednesday extended the lead to 8-0, providing the winning margin in the 8-6 victory.
• Sophomore outfielder Jordan Vujovich reached base in 12 straight plate appearances from March 10-15. He has reached base in 16 straight contests, dating back to Feb. 20 against Dallas Baptist. He has tallied 14 hits, 21 walks, been hit by a pitch seven times and scored 13 runs in that span.
• Sophomore first baseman Tyler Hardman has hit safely in six straight games, batting .428 (12-of-28) and scoring 10 runs during that stretch. He has started all 22 games and leads the full-time starters with a .366 batting average and 24 RBIs, while ranking second on the team with 20 runs scored.
• Freshman Ben Abram pitched 6.0 innings on Tuesday, allowing one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. It was his third straight start in which he pitched 6.0 innings.
• Junior catcher Brady Lindsly is five for his last 11 at the plate (.455) with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.
• For the second straight week, sophomore Levi Prater was outstanding in a rubber game to lead the Sooners to a series win last Sunday. He posted a career-high 15 strikeouts and allowed one hit and one walk in seven innings. He struck out the side three times and twice struck out five in a row, including the final five batters of his outing.
• Prater's 15 strikeouts tied for the fourth-most in school history. The last OU pitcher to strike out 15 batters in a game was Jared Hoerman in 1999 against Central Oklahoma. Jackson Todd also struck out 15 batters in seven innings against LSU in 1972.
• Prater has allowed one run in his last three starts, spanning 21 innings. The solo home run in the fourth inning Sunday broke a 17-inning scoreless streak.

ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS

• Kansas is in its 17th year under head coach Ritch Price, who has led the Jayhawks to a 505-467-3 record.
• The Jayhawks have lost four straight (three at St. John's and Wednesday at Wichita State) after winning nine in a row. KU has played all 20 of its games away from home to this point.
• Kansas is hitting .243 as a team, and averaging 5.6 runs and 2.6 extra base hits per game. Jaxx Groshans leads the team with a .382 batting average, eight home runs, 24 RBIs and 19 walks.
• The Jayhawks have a 3.55 team ERA and 174 strikeouts against 85 walks in 180.0 innings. Friday starter Ryan Zeferjahn is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in five starts and 29.0 innings, with 32 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .163 opponent batting average. Reliever Jonah Ulane has earned six saves in nine appearances and has posted a 0.86 ERA in 11.0 innings with 20 strikeouts and three walks.

SERIES HISTORY

• Oklahoma and Kansas have played 214 times. The Sooners lead the overall series, 137-76-1 and have won two straight meetings. OU also leads the series in Big 12 play, 41-23.
• The teams split four games last season. Kansas won a pair of 6-5 games to open the series in Lawrence, before OU won 14-6 in the series finale and 4-2 in the Big 12 Tournament.
• The Jayhawks have won the first two of the three-game series in each of the last three years, and have won six of 10 meetings since 2016.
• The Sooners won 18 of 20 meetings between 2010 and 2015.
• The series dates to 1962 when KU won three games in Lawrence, followed by three OU wins in Norman during the 1963 season.

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