College baseball: Sooners anticipate postseason in Charlottesville Regional
NORMAN – One weekend flipped Oklahoma’s mood. And its outlook.
NORMAN – One weekend flipped Oklahoma's mood. And its outlook.
And its season.
As the Sooners look ahead to the postseason – a spot in the NCAA Baseball Tournament officially secured Monday with an assignment in the Charlottesville Regional – they can look back on a mid-May sweep of Baylor for sparking a surge leading not only to an extended season, but a renewed respect.
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OU (38-22) was awarded the No. 2 seed at Charlottesville, Va., where it will play No. 3 Appalachian State (39-16) in its opener at 7 p.m. Friday. Host Virginia (38-17-1) is the No. 1 seed, facing No. 4 Army (41-13).
It's a trek the Sooners know well, having passed through Virginia's Davenport Field on its way to the program's 10th College World Series appearance two years ago, knocking off the then-No. 1 host Cavaliers in a Super Regional.
The Sooners are 2-2 all-time against Virginia, but they have never played Army or Appalachian State.
For the Sooners, rising to a No. 2 seed represents a remarkable turnaround from their post-Bedlam series loss, when the team was all but resigned to missing the postseason for the first time in four years.
“I told our guys after the Baylor (series), ‘We're on to something special,’” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “I think we're playing pretty good baseball. It's taking a special effort to defeat the Oklahoma Sooners right now. And that's what we control.
“We control going out and playing good baseball and making it be a special effort.”
The Sooners aren't just in the postseason, they're in position to do damage, thanks to a strong pitching staff featuring several pro-caliber arms.
Baylor coach Steve Smith, whose Bears won the Big 12 regular season title and are one of eight national seeds, confirmed as much after his team lost two more times in the conference tournament, falling to 0-5 against the Sooners.