Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma Baseball

Apparently he wears that 'stache non-ironically

OU Baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1898
-Overall record: 2,328-1,318-11
-2 National Championships (1951, 1994)
-10 College World Series appearances (most recent: 2010)
-34 NCAA Tournament appearances
-22 conference titles (zero Big 12)
-1 conference tournament title (one Big 12)

History with TCU: The Sooners and Horned Frogs have met 89 times on the diamond, with OU holding a 62-27 advantage in the all-time series.   They held an eight-game winning streak over the Frogs until a couple of TCU freshmen helped reverse that curse this year.  Derek Odell's walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th helped beat the Sooners 4-3 in Fort Worth on May 1st, and then Brandon Finnegan's seven shutout innings fueled the Frogs to a 1-0 win in Norman (their first since 2006) on May 15th.  It was TCU's first season sweep of Oklahoma since 2004.

Notable former OU Baseball Players:

  • Bobby Witt- He hit an interleague home run for the Rangers in 1997.

  • Mark Redman- He won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003.
  • Russ Ortiz- He won 21 games for the Braves one year.
  • Garrett Buechele- He's Steve Buechele's kid. 

Recent History: Larry Cochell probably could've coached baseball at Oklahoma for the rest of his life, having won multiple conference championships, made the Sooners an NCAA Tournament regular and won it all in 1994.   Then, in a 2005 interview televised by ESPN 2, he had the following to say about Joe Dunigan III, an African-American player on his team:
“There are honkies and white people and there are n*****s and black people. Dunigan is a good black kid.  There’s no n***** in him.”

Whoa!  I don't recommend following up Cochell's footsteps unless you want to lose your job as quickly as he did.   After that, OU tapped then-Oral Roberts head coach Sunny Golloway to be their new man, and since then he's led the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in four out of six seasons, inlcuding the current one.  This year's OU squad sports a record of 38-22 heading into their NCAA Regional opener against Appalachian State tomorrow in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Outlook for next year:  Like many teams in college baseball, the Sooners' outlook for 2013 hinges on which of their draft-eligible players leave to play pro ball.  Top hitter Max White, who has batted .356 this year and leads the team with 54 RBI, is a junior that will have to choose between getting paid or one more shot at Omaha.  The same goes for two of the Sooners' most reliable pitchers- redshirt sophomore Jordan John (2.30 ERA in 109 IP) and junior Steven Okert (2.92 ERA in 77 IP)

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