Baseball Returns Home to Take on Kansas

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Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 20, 2017
April 21-23 | Norman, Okla. | L. Dale Mitchell Park
Kansas
kansasoklahoma
19 Oklahoma
Weekend Pitching Match-Ups
First PitchOklahomaKansas
Friday, 6:30 p.m. RHP-Jake Irvin (5-0, 1.30) LHP-Taylor Turski (2-3, 2.54)
>>>Last Start at Texas (4/8): ND, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 K vs. OSU (4/14): ND, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 6 K
Saturday, 2 p.m. RHP-Kyle Tyler (0-0, 2.82) RHP-Jackson Goddard (3-2, 4.93)
>>>Last Start at Michigan (4/15): ND, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 K vs. OSU (4/15): W, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 13 K
Sunday, 1 p.m. RHP-Dylan Grove (1-3, 3.12) RHP-Ryan Zeferjahn (4-3, 5.08)
>>>Last Start at Michigan (4/13): L, 0.2 IP, 3 R, 5 BB, 0 K at WVU (4/9): ND, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 8 K

SOCIAL FEED

FIRST PITCH

The No. 19 University of Oklahoma baseball team returns to Big 12 play with a return to Norman after an eight-game road swing. The Sooners host Kansas for a three-game set beginning Friday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The series will be broadcast across the Sooners Sports Network; airing locally on the Sportstalk 1400 AM/99.3 FM. The voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland (play-by-play); joined by former Sooner Ross Hubbard (color commentary) Saturday and Sunday. Rowland and former OU and MLB pitcher George Frazer (color) will be on the call for Friday’s simulcast and Frazier and veteran OU broadcaster Chad McKee (pbp) will be in the booth for Sunday’s TV broadcast. All three games will be produced by Sooner Sports TV with Saturday’s game available for stream with a premium subscription to SoonerSports.tv.

ABOUT THE SOONERS

Oklahoma is 27-13 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12, despite a 1-7 record on its eight consecutive games away from home. Sophomore outfielder Steele Walker is the Sooners’ leading hitter with a .356 batting average. He also leads OU in slugging percentage (.570), doubles (11), runs (36) and RBI (35). Senior catcher Renae Martinez is second on the team with a .342 average to go with a .525 slugging percentage and 27 RBI. Walker and Martinez are tied for the team lead in home runs along with junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall, who has missed the last five games due to a back injury. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien hit his fourth home run of the season and 14th of his career at Michigan last week. He is hitting .317 with a .535 slugging percentage and 22 RBI. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Irvin, who has pitched just once since March 17, is scheduled to return to his role as the Friday night starter. He is 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA in six starts.

SCOUTING THE JAYHAWKS

Kansas is 17-19 on the season and 6-6 in the Big 12 after winning two of three from Oklahoma State at home last weekend. The Jayhawks, who are coming off a Wednesday night loss at Wichita State, turn to lefty Taylor Turski is game one. He is 2-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 46 innings, while opponents are hitting just .185 of of him. Right-handed closer Stephen Villines has 10 saves with a 1-2 record and 3.49 ERA. Shortstop Matt McLaughlin is KU’s top hitter at .317 with 21 RBI and 18 runs.

THE FORECAST

Projected Starters
OU LineupBA/OBP/SLGNotes
CF-Ben Hollas .296/.438/.417 Doubled twice in a three-hit night at DBU (4/18).
2B-Jack Flansburg .234/.394/.298 12th in the country with 32 base on balls.
C-Renae Martinez .342/.403/.525 Hit third in each of the last three games.
LF-Steele Walker .356/.433/.570 Hitting .370 (20-for-54) over the last 16 games.
1B-Austin O'Brien .317/.386/.535 Hit 14th career home run at Michigan (4/14).
DH-Brady Lindsly .291/.409/.382 14 hits in 14 starts this season.
3B-Brylie Ware .328/.414/.368 Second on the team with 12 multi-hit games.
RF-Blake Brewster .250/.360/.500 Four multi-RBI games tied for fourth most on the team.
SS-Brandon Zaragoza .252/.338/.276 Started 29 consecutive games at shortstop.

ALL-TIME VS. KU

Oklahoma leads the all-time series over Kansas, 134-72-1, including a 39-19 mark in Big 12 regular season games. In postseason play, the two sides have met seven times with OU holding a 4-3 advantage, which includes a 2-1 mark in the Big 12 Championship with a 7-2 Sooner win in the 2013 title game. Jacob Evans got the win in five innings of relief and first baseman Matt Oberste provided four RBI.

LAST TIME THEY MET

Kansas took two of three from Oklahoma, sweeping a doubleheader in Lawrence on April 30, 2016. The Jayhawks won the opener, 7-2, and walked off on a sacrifice-fly from Tommy Mirabelli. The Sooners salvaged the series with a 17-6, seven-inning, run-rule victory in the finale. Jack Flansburg went 4-for-4 and Sheldon Neuse contributed four RBI as Jake Irvin earned the win in five innings of work.

Next Home Game
Oklahoma vs. UTA
April 25 | Norman, Okla.
The Sooners host the Mavericks for their final midweek and non-conference match-up of the regular season next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. TICKETS

THE WALK OFF AND THE WIN

The last time the Jayhawks were in town, Jacob Evans provided the walk-off blast and earned the win in a series-opening win on April 2, 2015. Evans started the Sooners’ ninth-inning rally with a leadoff-single as they would score four runs to tie the game. He then pitched the top of the 10th and led off the bottom half with a game-winning home run to right. Oklahoma swept the series with a 6-3 win in game two and an 8-7, walk-off win in 10 innings; won on a Taylor Alspaugh single.

A YEAR OLDER, STRONGER

At the 40-game mark of the 2016 season, Oklahoma sat at 20-19-1 overall and 6-8 in the Big 12 following back-to-back wins over West Virginia in Norman. The Sooners’ current 27-13 record marks a seven-game improvement in wins from this same point one year ago. In 2016, Oklahoma was 3-14-1 against Top-100 RPI teams through 40 games vs. 8-12 this season; good enough for an 84-spot improvement in the RPI from 106 to 22.