Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
The Oklahoma Sooners come off a successful 2011 season that saw them win 40 plus games for the third season in a row. The Sooners finished third in the Big 12 and reached their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, the programs 34th. Last year’s talented squad had 11 athletes drafted, the most in school history, had two All-Americans and a Freshman All-American and nine All-Conference picks. Head Coach Sunny Galloway led a squad that hit over .300 for the sixth straight year and posted its lowest ERA (2.66) in 33 years. Coach Galloway returns five starters from the field and two from the bullpen.
2011: 41-19, 14-11
2011 Postseason: NCAA, Eliminated in Fort Worth Regional (losses to Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts)
Coach: Sunny Galloway, 7th Season
Senior infielder Evan Mistich led the team in runs and hits with 35 and 49 respectively. The senior All-Conference selection hit .316 in 2011. Freshman All-American Max White gives Coach Galloway some versatility playing both infield and outfield. He hit .286, roping 11 doubles, with 20 RBI. Shortstop Caleb Bushyhead returns for his senior season after hitting .288 with 12 extra base hits. Senior outfielders Cody Reine and Erik Ross bring back starting experience for the Sooners.
Coach Galloway will look to 2011 Freshman All-American Dillon Overton to be the ace of the staff in 2012. Overton, a southpaw, appeared in 23 games last season, made seven starts going 8-4 with a 2.3 ERA. Sophomore Jordan John is also a left hander who made seven starts. He tossed one complete game finishing 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA. Jordan struck out 54 in 55 innings. Newcomer Adam Choplick joins the staff in 2012. The 6’8” lefty from Denton Ryan High School pitched a perfect game last spring striking out 16 on just 61 pitches. He posted a 0.5 ERA his senior season and was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 17th round of the draft.
Who to Watch:
Incoming freshman Hunter Lockwood was picked by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 17th round as well. Lockwood earned All-State honors in 2011 at Dallas/Fort Worth area L.D. Bell High School. He hit .485, launched a DFW Area leading 19 home runs and knocked in 55 runs. Washington, Texas’ Drake Roberts comes in with plenty of accolades. The Brenham High product was named High School All American by Under Armour, Rawlings and Louisville Slugger and was among ESPN Rise “Top 10 High School Shortstops.” In his senior season he also earned All-State honors, hit .375, stole 33 bases and drove in 35.
Coach Galloway and the retooled Sooners will look to build on their recent success. The return of five starters and two key pieces of the pitching staff provide a solid base from which to work. A talented group of freshmen will augment the Oklahoma lineup and help them pick up where they left off in 2011. The 30 home games in their revamped stadium should also provide an edge. Look for the Sooners to compete at the top of the Big 12 and make a fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA
At Bats: Caleb Bushyhead, SS, 160
Hits: Evan Mistich, INF, 49
Home Runs: Cody Reine, OF, 4
RBIs: Cody Reine, OF, 27
Runs: Evan Mistich, INF, 35
Stolen Bases: Erik Ross, OF, 19
Wins: Dillon Overton, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Dillon Overton, P, 74
Strikeouts: Dillon Overton, P, 59
Saves: Jack Mayfield, P, 3