NORMAN — If it all comes down to an arms race, Oklahoma could be in for a magical season. It has the pitching to not only reach the College World Series, but win it as well.
Pitching can take a team a long way, but going the distance means scoring runs as well. Figuring out a way to do it on a much more consistent basis than in 2012 is the Sooners’ central issue heading into the 2013 season.
“It’s a major concern,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said.
It was revealed in 2012 that OU went 42-25 despite hitting just .265 and averaging 5.2 runs per game.
All the offensive struggles seemed to manifest themselves in the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners, somehow, won the Virginia regional despite hitting .215 over five games. There wasn’t amount of pitching that could overcome batting .152 in the Super Regional series at South Carolina.
“We are continuing to try to get our athletes to buy into manufacturing runs,” Golloway said. “You have to be able to bunt, you have to be able to hit and run and you have to be able to steal bases and you to be smart on the base paths.”
Luckily, OU has some veteran players who get it. Left fielder Max White is entering his fourth season as an everyday starter. The senior hit .337 last season and was OU’s most reliable hitter. Jack Mayfield is making the move from second base to short stop, but he gives the Sooners a reliable bat early in the order. He’s coming off a season where hit .280 and drove in 34 runs in his first season as an everyday player.
Having Matt Oberste, who has moved from designated hitter to first base, healthy is huge for the Sooners. He only hit six homers last season, but four came in the postseason.