The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 14, 2014

Deep rotation gives Sooners lots of options

NORMAN — Pete Hughes admitted two weeks ago that the pitching staff, which the first-year Oklahoma baseball coach labeled the deepest he’s ever coached, still presents quandaries.

Take guys like sophomore left-hander Jacob Evans and second-year sophomore Ralph Garza Jr. Are they more valuable in the starting rotation or out of the bullpen?

Starters can impact games once a week. Relievers can easily alter the outcome of every game in a three-game series, if so needed.

The Sooners will get a sense when they face Seton Hall at 3 p.m. today in the season opener and the beginning of a three-game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Evans, who was OU’s closer last season and named a freshman All-American after going 7-2 with nine saves, will move to that once-a-week spot.

The left-hander with the dominant change-up will take the mound today. Redshirt sophomore Adam Choplick will take the mound Saturday with freshman Jacob Elliot getting the ball in the series finale.

Moving into the starting rotation is a natural progression for college pitchers. Most start out in the bullpen and build their stamina. Then they become starters as sophomores and juniors.

“There’s about six or seven guys in there that are going to be our rotation guys,” Hughes said. “We’re not gonna call them our top three because sometimes the most valuable guy is the one in the bullpen.”

Garza, who went 5-1 in 24 appearances with a 2.76 ERA, remains in the bullpen and could very well be the glue for the entire pitching staff.

Neither he nor Evans lobbied for a shift to the starting rotation.

“It really comes down to being ready for whatever you’re needed to do,” Garza said.

The starting rotation is the biggest hole OU has to fill going into the season. The last two seasons Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton filled two of those spots and they gave it one of the best 1-2 starting rotations in college baseball.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU womens gym Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

Facebook