By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma enters the season knowing who its No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers will be. Left-hander Dillon Overton will take the mound at 3 p.m. today at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Jonathan Gray will get the ball in the second game of the four-game series at 1 p.m., Saturday.
The No. 3 and No. 4 spots is where the competition remains.
Left-hander Billy Waltrip will start Game 3 of Saturday’s doubleheader and freshman right-hander Corey Copping is slated to start the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
OU coach Sunny Golloway wants to see what both do in their first starts before he starts making more weekend plans. Copping and redshirt freshman Adam Choplick, who will make his debut against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday, have both shown enough in the fall and preseason practices to warrant consideration.
“Waltrip is the odds-on favorite, but there are two freshmen arms in there with Copping and Choplick that are pretty special,” Golloway said.
Handling the weather: The forecasted high temperature for today and Saturday is in the 40s. Golloway said all his starting pitchers will be on a pitch count, but he doesn’t believe the weather will affect the pitching staff.
“It won’t factor in as much if they can have quick innings,” he said. “I think if they have to stay out there and labor too long, it could be a factor and we’ll look at that. If they can go out there and get quick innings, then we get them up the tunnel and on the (exercise) bike and keep them moving and keep them warm … I think they’ll be OK.”
Wearing the Cs: OU captains Max White, Jack Mayfield, Overton and Gray will all wear the Cs on their jerseys this season.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s awesome that they have the trust in us four guys. It is going to be a good year,” Mayfield said. “The three other captains are amazing. We have great leadership. We have so many young guys that trust us. It’s awesome just leading these guys and watching them kind of work under our wing and get better every day.”
Making the switch: Mayfield was an everyday starter at second base last season, but he’ll move to shortstop this year. Golloway said Mayfield has played well enough that he should’ve thought about moving former shortstop Caleb Bushyhead to second base last season.
“He’s made some plays over there that we haven’t made in a long time,” Golloway said of Mayfield. “It’s not taking anything away from anybody who has played here in the past, it’s just complimenting the guy who’s standing there now. He’s a captain and I’m pretty impressed with what he’s done at shortstop.”
New year, new position: Max White will move to left field, where he started as a freshman in 2010. He’s played just about every spot other than pitcher and catcher since.
“I’ve accepted that role,” White said. “I like being that guy that if there’s a role that needs to filled, that I’m the guy to be called on. Right now, we don’t have many holes.”
Big 12 favorites: OU has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2013 Big 12 baseball regular-season title. In a vote by the league’s head coaches, the Sooners earned six first-place votes, totaling 62 points.
TCU received the other three first-place votes and finished second in the poll. Texas was third, followed by Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Kansas and West Virginia.
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