Oklahoma baseball: Can you hear us now?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

With all the questions and disappoint hovering around the three-time defending national champion Oklahoma softball program in recent weeks, let's not overlook that Oklahoma baseball is sitting atop the Big 12 standings and enjoying an outstanding year of its own.

The Sooners won their fifth Big 12 series with a 7-5 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday. That followed an 8-0 shutout of the Red Raiders and a dominant pitching performance by OU ace Braden Davis in the series opener on Friday. If the Sooners make it three straight at Texas Tech on Sunday, it will give them a fourth series sweep in conference games this season.

If you haven't checked lately, Oklahoma is in first place in the Big 12 and as of Sunday morning was ahead of the rest of the pack by a full two games over Texas and Oklahoma State with seven conference games remaining in the regular season. The Sooners' 17 Big 12 wins is their most in conference play since the 2009 season, and they still have two series to go (at home next weekend against Baylor and at Cincinnati the following week) this season.

To further underscore how impressive Oklahoma's performance has been thus far, the Sooners were picked to finish tied for sixth in the Big 12 2024 Preseason Baseball Poll conducted by the conference coaches. TCU was projected as the conference favorite. The Sooners swept the Horned Frogs, currently in ninth place in the conference standings, back in March in the conference opening series for both teams.

Oklahoma has been one of the best hitting teams in the Big 12 all the season. As good as the Sooners have been at the plate, however, Texas Tech has been one better, ranked at the top of the conference in that category. Pitching has been mostly inconsistent and an issue for both teams, which is why this series had the appearance coming in of potentially being a high-scoring slugfest.

What stood out in the first two games for Oklahoma against Texas Tech, though, was not the offense, though the Sooners did score 15 runs in the two games, but the strength of OU's starting pitching. Davis, a left-handed transfer from Sam Houston State, started the opening game in the series and worked 7.0 scoreless in Oklahoma's 8-0 shutout win. He struck out eight and walked two in winning his sixth game of the year against three losses. It was Davis' third straight win.

Right-handed starter Kyson Witherspoon was almost as good on the hill in Game 2 for the Sooners. Himself an incoming transfer to Oklahoma this season from Northwest Florida State College, worked into the seventh inning. When he left the game with two outs in the seventh, the Sooners led 7-3 . Withspoon's stat line for the game was three runs allowed on four hits with eight strikeouts. The one criticism would be that he also walked five batters.

Here's what really stood out for the Sooners' in the first two games at Texas Tech: The Sooner pitchers limited a Red Raider offense that averages nine runs and 11 hits per game to just five runs and 11 total hits in the two games.

If Oklahoma can continue to play well over the next two weeks and hold on to the top perch in the Big 12, it would be the Sooners' first Big 12 regular-season championship in baseball. Their last conference title was in 1995 as a member of the Big Eight and, ironically, the year after they won their second national championship.

That's something worth noticing and recognizing, especially at a time when the dynastic Sooner softball program is starting to show some chinks in its typically impenetrable armor.