NORMAN — Oklahoma can look back on a season that includes the program’s first Big 12 tournament title in 16 years and third Super Regional berth in four years. It was a quality year.
Was it a successful year?
“We want more,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said after his team’s 11-1 loss to LSU Saturday. “The goal is always going to be to advance to Omaha.”
The Sooners, who went 43-21 this season, are at a point where anything less than a College World Series berth leaves a hole in the season’s accomplishments.
There was several pieces OU had this past season that made that dream a realistic goal. Jonathan Gray was the most dominant pitcher in college baseball this season. There weren’t many teams that had a No. 1 starter pitcher of Dillon Overton’s caliber. OU had those two going, Nos. 1 and 2 in the pitching rotation.
It had the starting pitching and experience with center fielder Max White, shortstop Jack Mayfield, third baseman Garrett Carey and first Matt Oberste to make a deep run.
All those players have likely played their last games as Sooners. White and Mayfield were seniors. With their exits, the last fragments of the 2010 College World Series team are gone.
Gray, Overton and Oberste — all juniors — were high selections in last week’s Major League Baseball draft. All are expected to being their professional careers later this summer.
But the undercurrent of the Sooners’ 2013 season is outside of that group of five, it was freshmen who played the dominant roles.
OU had four in the lineup Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La. Left fielder Craig Aikin, catcher Anthony Hermelyn, designated hitter Colt Bickerstaff and right fielder Hunter Haley were all freshmen this season.
Aikin and Hermelyn were every-day players. Bickerstaff and Haley joined Kolbey Carpenter as players who moved in and out of the lineup this season.