Oklahoma baseball: Monday mound visit


Editor's note: This article was written by Cameron Black, who will be providing a weekly column during the 2024 Oklahoma baseball season recapping the Sooners' weekend activity, largely from the perspective of the pitching staff, hence the standing headline "Monday mound visit."

After wading through the long cold winter months, Oklahoma baseball has at last made its triumphant return, and the 2024 Sooners baseball team is off to a rather auspicious start (the team as a whole and the pitching staff in particular).

Every week I will endeavor to do my best to give you a detailed look at how the Sooner pitching staff performed during the past weekend's series of games. I began this column last year, but this year I have added another very special inclusion to each piece.

At the end of each piece, I will include the comments and analysis of none other than voice of the Sooners, Toby Rowland, as a regular feature within each article titled “Talk with T-Row.”

The Sooners began the 2024 season at the Shriners Children’s College Showdown played in Globe Life field in Arlington Texas, home of the world champion Texas Rangers.

The Sooners dropped their first game of the season to Oregon, 4-2, but followed that with back-to-back wins over 8th-ranked Tennessee, 5-1in extra innings on Saturday, and a come-from-behind 7-6 win over Nebraska Sunday afternoon.

The mound saw its share of familiar faces, as well as some newcomers in the Sooners weekend pitchers.

Oklahoma vs. Oregon

Friday, February 16, 3 p.m. start

Result: 4-2 Oregon over Oklahoma

Braden Davis drew the opening-day starting assignment against Oregon Friday evening. Davis, a Sam Houston State transfer, worked the first five innings and allowed two runs (one of them unearned) on three hits. The left-hander showed control and great command of the strike zone, striking out seven while issuing just two free passes. His control wavered at times, uncorking three wild pitches (one of which hit a batter).

Davis worked five innings, before handing the ball over to reliever Malachi Witherspoon, another 2024 newcomer, transferring from Northwest Florida State College. Witherspoon worked the next two innings, allowing the Ducks their final two runs on two hits. He fanned four but also walked three.

Senior right-handed reliever Carson Atwood replaced Witherspoon in the eighth inning and allowed no runs and one hit in one inning of work. Carter Campbell

Carter Campbell came on in the ninth to finish the game for Oklahoma. He allowed a leadoff single but got out of the inning with no further damage.

The pitching totals for the four Sooner pitchers who worked in the game: four runs allowed (three earned) on seven hits. The silver lining in the loss was 13 strikeouts recorded by the OU pitchers. That was largely overshadowed, however, by seven wild pitches and five walks. Witherspoon was charged with the loss in relief.

Oklahoma vs. Tennessee

Saturday, February 17, 7 p.m. start

Result: 5-1 Oklahoma over Tennessee (10 innings)

Brendan Girton, a hard-throwing right-hander who transferred to OU from Texas Tech in the offseason, was the assigned starter for the Sooners on Saturday evening against the Tennessee Volunteers, who entered the game as the country's eighth-ranked team. Girth worked his way through the first four innings, yielding the Volunteers only run of the game in the fourth inning. He allowed three hits but struck out nine Tennessee hitters while he was in the game.

Kyson Witherspoon, twin brother of Malachi, entered the game in the fifth inning, making his first Oklahoma performance, in relief of the starter Girton. Kyson held the Vols scoreless over the next 4.1 innings, giving up three hits along with four strikeouts and three walks.

Ryan Lambert came on in relief of Witherspoon in the ninth inning with two on and one out and retired the two batters he faced to end the threat and send the game to extra innings. would work the rest of the game (including the extra tenth inning). He stayed on the hill in the bottom of the 10th after Oklahoma had scored four times to open the inning. After allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the 10th, Lambert recorded the final three outs to preserve the win for the Sooners and also picked up the win.

The totals for the Sooners pitching staff in Saturday's win, Oklahoma's first of the season: one run on seven hits, 15 strikeouts and six walks.

Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

Sunday, February 18, 10:30 a.m. start

Result: 7-6 Oklahoma over Nebraska

Returning starter James Hitt, who was 6-2 last season in 12 starts, got the call for Oklahoma on Sunday. He was the first of five OU pitchers who would see action for the Sooners in the Sunday finale against former Big 12 foe Nebraska. Hitt lasted five full innings, but when he left the game, the Cornhuskers held a 5-1 lead. He allowed five runs on five hits but struck out 10 Nebraska hitters or the Husker advantage might have been even greater. . During the course of those five innings, Hitt would collect the most strikeouts of any Sooner pitcher over the weekend.

Freshman Brad Pruett relieved Hitt to begin the sixth inning, but he would only work two-thirds of an inning, giving up a leadoff walk to a Nebraska hitter, who stole second and later came around to score the Cornhuskers' sixth run. Carter Campbell came on to record the final out of the inning on a strikeout.in the seventh and that was the only batter he would face in the game.

Senior reliever Jett Lodes entered the game in the seventh in relief of Campbell. Lodes worked the next 1.2 innings, shutting down the Nebraska attack on no runs and one hit and recording a strikeout. Left-hander Jace Miner, a Wichita State transfer, recorded the final out of the eighth on an infield groundout. .

Dylan Crook retired the side in the Nebraska ninth, including a strikeout, setting up the Sooners' walk-off win in the bottom half of the inning on a single up the middle with two out that scored Washington transfer Michael Snyder from third base with the winning run. As a result of OU's comeback in the botton of the ninth. Crooks was awarded the win in relief.

The Sunday afternoon, totals for the Sooner pitching staff were six runs (four earned) on seven hits, an impressive 13 strikeouts and four walks.

All and all a very encouraging first weekend for the Sooner pitching staff, but don’t take my word for it, let's find out what the voice of the Sooners and OU baseball play-by-play announcer Toby Rowland, had to say.

Talk with T-Row: Commentary by Toby Rowland

"It was a very exciting and encouraging start to the 2024 Sooner baseball season all around, but especially on the mound. OU pitchers combined for 41 strikeouts in the three games.

"I thought the starters, Braden Davis, Brendan Girton and Jamie Hitt, were especially dominant. Davis had 7 K's in his five innings of work (in the season opener). Girton struck out nine (Tennessee) Volunteers in his four innings. And Hitt, who didn’t have a big strikeout total a year ago, struck out 10 Cornhuskers in five innings on Sunday.

"Twin brothers Malachi and Kyson Witherspoon were also very impressive out of the bullpen. Both have dynamic arms and pitch with a lot of fire.

"Pitching was the weak spot for OU a year ago and it looks like (head coach) Skip Johnson has accomplished what he set out to do in the offseason by adding depth and talent to the Sooner staff. It’s only the first weekend, but if this is a sign of things to come, it could be a fun 2024 campaign.”


The Sooners have their home opener, in a four-game series with Wright State, out of the Horizon League, this weekend. The Raiders are 1-2 after the first weekend of the 2024 season and were 39-23 last season and league champions.

Boomer Sooner!