Oklahoma baseball: Bats are booming, pitching bumbling

The Oklahoma baseball bats are producing this spring, The Sooners are third in the Big 12 in hits and second in runs scored.

The problem is, Oklahoma also leads the conference in runs allowed, which is not the formula you want for a winning season.

Almost a month and a half into the 2021 college baseball season, only one other Big 12 team has a worse record than OU’s 14-14 mark (West Virginia is 11-12). And until the Sooners’ 14-12 slugfest win over Oral Roberts on Tuesday, they stood one game under .500.

Tuesday night’s game against Oral Roberts was typical of the ups and downs of the Sooners season so far. After allowing eight runs in the first inning and trailing 10-4 after an inning and a half, by the end of the second frame, Oklahoma had narrowed the deficit to 10-8.

A three-run homer in the eighth  inning by center fielder Tanner Tredaway  gave the Sooners the lead, and they added an insurance tally in the ninth to close out the victory.

Five Oklahoma pitchers saw action against Oral Roberts, surrendering 12 runs, 11 of them earned, on 12 hits and seven bases on balls.

There’s been nothing wrong with the Sooners’ ability to put the bat on the ball. They are second in the Big 12 and 20th nationally with a team batting average of .296 and they are averaging close to eight runs a game.

Junior first baseman Tyler Hardman leads the Big 12 in four offensive categories: batting average (.468), hits (52), total bases (87) and on-base percentage (.562) and is second in slugging percentage (.784). His 87 total bases also ranks No. 1 in the nation.

Unfortunately OU pitching is giving up nearly seven runs a game along with an opponents’ batting average of .263. The Sooners’ staff ERA is 6.28, worst in the Big 12 and  232nd out of the 263 Division I teams.

That stat alone says all you need to know about the Sooners’ struggles on the diamond this season.

Fielding has been an issue, as well. Oklahoma committed three errors in Tuesday night’s win over Oral Roberts. Through 28 games, OU’s 33 errors are the most in the Big 12.

The Sooners host Kansas this weekend at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Something is going to give in that series. OU and Kansas both come into the series with identical 1-5 conference records and tied with Baylor for seventh place in the Big 12 standings.