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April 17, 2009

SCS.comThe college baseball season is moving along. This week marks the beginning of the second half of the regular season. Our preview this week takes us to Austin, Texas for a series between rivals Oklahoma and Texas. Both are ranked in the top 10 and will be battling for supremacy in the Big XII. The Longhorns do not see it as a rivalry as they lead the all-time series 128-50-2, including taking two of three in Norman and defeating the Sooners in the Big XII Championship Game last season. Who will win the Red River Rivalry on the diamond? We will take a look and make a prediction.

WEEKEND'S TOP SERIES - #10 OKLAHOMA (29-8 overall, 8-4 BIG XII) AT #6 TEXAS (26-8 overall, 9-6 BIG XII)

The Sooners come in to this series leading the Big XII by a half of a game over Texas and Baylor. Both teams will not need to be looking over their shoulder at the Bears because they both have to play them. The team that wins this series, without a sweep, may very well find themselves in 2nd place come Sunday evening. Texas has won seven of the last ten in the series; therefore, they have been sending the Sooners back up the river without a paddle. Will Oklahoma bring some paddles...I mean Austin this season?

Coach Sunny Golloway (127-78-1 in 5th season) brings his Sooners into town with a 7-3 record in their last ten games. They have won all four conference series by taking two games in each. The team is hitting .336 with 61 blasts and 313 RBI. The offense is led by junior Bryant Hernandez's .397 average and senior J.T. Wise's 12 homeruns. Junior outfielder Jamie Johnson has swiped 11 of the team's 43 bases. Ten players that have seen significant playing time have averages over .300, with one having a .299 average. As much as the offense has excelled, the pitching staff has not had much to boast about. The team has a 4.69 ERA and seeing opponents bat .284 with 35 homers, 353 hits, and 188 runs scored (169 earned). The Sunday starter has not been announced as of yet but Friday night starter, junior Andrew Doyle, has a 5-2 record and a 3.67 ERA. Saturday starter, redshirt junior Stephen Porlier, will make his second start on the season. He is 1-0 with an unblemished ERA in 10 1/3 innings pitched. Sophomore Ryan Duke has a team leading eight saves, after picking up one on Tuesday night against TCU.

Coach Augie Garrido (1668-755-8 in 41st season) has his team playing great baseball right now. The team has won nine of their last ten, including a sweep at Nebraska last weekend. The strength of this Longhorn team is on the mound, which is fitting because the team is retiring former pitcher Greg Swindell's number. The pitching staff has a 2.12 ERA and opponents are only hitting .213 against them. Only giving up 16 homeruns, the Longhorns have kept the runs from scoring as they only have allowed 94 runs (70 earned) on the season. The Texas rotation will be sophomore Chance Ruffin (5-2, 2.55 ERA), sophomore Cole Green (3-0, 2.42 ERA), and sophomore Brandon Workman (3-3, 2.76 ERA). Senior closer Austin Wood (4-0, 1.77 ERA) has eight saves on the season and needs only three appearances to become the 4th Texas pitcher to appear in 100 games in a career. Junior Brandon Belt leads the offense with a .352 average, while sophomores Kevin Keyes and Connor Rowe have four homeruns each. The team has only hit .282 with 16 homeruns and 156 RBI.

This is a classic battle where offense meets defense. Typically, great pitching will stop good hitting. This may very well hold true for this weekend; however, the Sooners can put up some runs. If they can, they may walk away from the weekend on top of the Big XII. Texas has dominated the all-time series and will add to that with a series win, 2-1.


#9 MIAMI, FL (26-10, 11-7 ACC Coastal) at #4 NORTH CAROLINA (28-10, 10-7 ACC Coastal)

This divisional matchup has major implications on the ACC Coastal race. Both teams find themselves behind Georgia Tech; therefore, a great series could be in store. The Tar Heels will take two from the Hurricanes.

#12 ARKANSAS (25-9, 10-4 SEC West) vs. #2 GEORGIA (29-7, 11-4 SEC East)

Just another weekend in the SEC as both divisional leaders face off in Athens. Georgia lost two of three when LSU came to town a couple of weeks ago. Arkansas comes in losing two last week to Vandy, while Georgia swept Kentucky. Look for the Dogs to take the series, 2-1.

#13 BAYLOR (24-11, 9-6 BIG XII) at #28 OKLAHOMA STATE (24-14, 4-8 BIG XII)

The Baylor Bears could find their way to the top of the standings with a sweep and some help from our preview series. The Cowboys could use some victories to boost their RPI and conference standing; however, they will not get it as they get mauled by the Bears, 3-0.

#16 MISSISSIPPI (26-10, 9-6 SEC West) at #22 FLORIDA (25-12, 9-6 SEC East)

With the divisional leaders playing this week, both teams will look to keep pace or eclipse them. The Rebels dropped the series at home last weekend, while the Gators took a series in Auburn. The Gators are putting up lots of crooked numbers on the board and the trend will continue while taking the series, 2-1.

Other series to keep an eye on

#14 Coastal Carolina at High Point, Stanford at #5 Arizona State, #24 San Diego State at New Mexico, Missouri at #29 Kansas State, New Mexico State at Nevada

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