Facing each other for the first time since a rendezvous in the ACC-Disney Baseball Bash in 1999, the #1 Virginia Cavaliers will host the #11 Oklahoma Sooners this weekend. These two high hitting teams will duke it out for a trip to Omaha.
The Cavaliers have now won all but one series this season, and will be looking to continue that streak this weekend. Freshmen pitcher Brendan Kline improved to 5-0 on the season with his advancing win in the Regionals against St. John’s on Monday night. Kline is not yet penciled into the lineup, but one would imagine that Coach Brian O’Connor might use him if the series goes to a Game 3.
Junior Phil Gosselin continued his consistent performance for Virginia in the Regionals, but the Cavaliers are seeing runs from all over their lineups. Sophomore infielders Keith Werman and Steven Proscia both had a strong weekend against St. John’s and VCU. Werman scored 2 runs in Monday’s deciding game, and Proscia had two hits.
Oklahoma won three games last weekend, defeating North Carolina to advance to the Super Regional. Led by the 7 1/3 performance of Bobby Shore, the Sooners won both of their games against North Carolina by a mere run. Shore has a 4.23 ERA and a 9-4 record on the season, and was named the Norman Regionals most outstanding player. Like Kline, Shore is not set in the rotation for the weekend, but could be used in that important Game 3 slot.
Oklahoma loves its road trips – the team is 22-9 in away games this season. The Sooners also have performed quite well in extra innings this season (3-1), with two of their games in the Regional going into extra time. Current Oklahoma coach Sunny Galloway is 18-3-1 since 2005 in extra inning games. This could be telling, as Virginia has lost both of their extra inning games this season.
The Sooners will look for continued power from team captain, sophomore Garrett Buechele, who has 91 hits and 52 runs this season. In the past 11 games, the infielder has 5 home runs and 21 hits. He had 2 runs and 2 RBIs last weekend.
Oklahoma and Virginia’s Super Regional will be featured on the ESPN Networks, with Saturday’s 3pm game on ESPNU, Sunday’s 4pm game on ESPN, and Monday’s game, if necessary, on ESPN2 with a time to be announced.
Kat Cornetta is a TCBB contributor. In addition to her work here, she covers lacrosse and hockey. Her portfolio and blog can be viewed here.