Max White did plenty of good things at the plate this weekend, but it was his sterling play in center field for Oklahoma that led to him being named the Blacksburg NCAA regional's Most Outstanding Player.
And to think, he had only played the position in five games before this weekend.
Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway said he had become concerned that Craig Aikin and White were pressing too much at the plate, so he had them switch spots in the outfield to focus their minds elsewhere.
The first sign Golloway had made the right move came during the Big 12 Tournament when White preserved a 4-4 tie against Kansas State with a strong throw to third to cut down a potential go-ahead run.
Oklahoma then won the game in extra innings and advanced to the tourney championship.
Sunday evening, White might have saved the Sooners' season by gunning down a potential tying run to preserve a precarious 4-3 lead against Virginia Tech.
“I was looking for that throw one more time,” White said. “I didn't want them to tie it up and that would have tied it, so I saw the ball come up the middle and I charged hard and luckily it was on line."
Said Golloway, “Max's play was absolutely the play of the game.”
White led four Sooners on the all-Regional team. Catcher Anthony Hermelyn, second baseman Hector Lorenzana and pitcher Jonathan Gray joined him. Host Virginia Tech had six players on the squad — shortstop Chad Pinder, third baseman Andrew Rash, outfielders Mark Zagunis and Tylor Horan, pitcher Devin Burke and designated hitter Kyle Wernicki. Connecticut first baseman Bobby Melley rounded out the team.
Connecticut finished with 33 hits in three games — 32 singles and one double. … The Sooners are riding an eight-game winning streak. … Sunday's meeting with Virginia Tech was the first between the teams since 1978. … Golloway is now 24-17 in NCAA tournament play since 2005.