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February 22, 2013

'We're very mature in how we travel on the road'

Six games in, the youth movement known as, the Oklahoma baseball team has seen just about every scenario baseball can offer.

They've held onto a one run victory, run ruled an opponent, walked off in victory twice and even managed to sweep a pair of doubleheaders.

This weekend they head to Corpus Christi (Texas) for a trio of games in the 2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic where the tutorial session will continue.

Leaving the cozy confines of L. Dale Mitchell Park for the first time this season the lesson plan will have begun before the Sooners even leave home.

"We load our bus in a particular way where bags go in certain compartments. Everybody has their duty and we're very mature in how we travel on the road," said Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway. "We have a lot of fun together but it's all business when we get on the field."

Of which hasn't been much of a problem even with six newcomers, including four freshmen, making an immediate contribution through the Sooners first two series.

Three pitchers have picked up their first career victories, junior second basemen Hector Lorenzana has appeared on ESPN's top plays and junior Matt Oberste (.455/.909 SLG/ 20 total bases) has swung the bat better than any player in the conference.

Tuesday afternoon in between game one and two of a doubleheader Golloway knew a move needed to be made.

"I told them there's four times during the season when you make a move and we need(ed) to make a move between game one and game two," admitted Golloway.

"I was very adamant about that."

Based off their play it's evident that clubhouse pep talk was communicated very well. Tying season highs in runs (11) and hits (12) Oklahoma responded with a 11-1 run rule victory of Arkansas Pine Bluff.

Oklahoma's ace, Dillon Overton, even got in on the act throwing an inning versus the Golden Lions collecting his second win of the season.

"We made a move (today) and I'm looking for it to show up this weekend," said Golloway. "I think it will. I don't think I'm going to have to give a 'rah rah' speech. Just put them in the game and let the game teach us what we need to get better at."

2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic - at Whataburger Field

Friday - vs. Iowa 2 p.m. (LHP Dillon Overton 2-0 1.12 ERA, 8.0 IP, 1 BB, 7 SO)

Saturday - vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi 6 p.m. (RHP Jonathan Gray 1-0 2.70 ERA, 6.2 IP, 1 BB, 6 SO)

Sunday - vs. New Mexico 9:30 a.m. (RHP Corey Copping 0-0 1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 2 BB, 4 SO)

Preaching defense

Through their first 6 games of the season Oklahoma has committed 15 errors. Even more startling is the fact that five of those errors have been committed by senior Jack Mayfield.

"The way he played in the spring early on attacking the ball had me going 'you've got to be kidding me' so I asked him why aren't you attacking the baseball? Why are you playing to not make errors instead of taking hits away like you're capable of," said Golloway.

A recipient of praise by Golloway at the Sooners media day less than one month ago Mayfield committed only 3 errrors all of last season in 24 games at second base.

"It's the first time I've gotten onto this club so far. We've got so many young guys still trying to learn the game. We have to be patient and give them a chance."

True freshmen Kolbey Carpenter has committed two errors at first base and Anthony Hermelyn has committed a lone error in four starts behind the dish.

Sooner State producing talent

With a positive impact already being made by his freshmen group in 2013 Oklahoma head coach Sunny Gollloway sometimes has to force himself to focus on the present.

This past week the Sooner State was ranked as the No. 6 best high school baseball state in the country by USA Today's High School Sports writer Scott Allen.

"I already know what we've signed and have coming next year so I've got to poise myself because it's not about next year," joked Golloway.

Of the 14 recently signed players in the Sooners class of 2014 six come from right in their own backyard.

"I couldn't be more excited about where we are right now but where we're going to be in a year or two also."

Meet the Oklahoman's:

Keach Ballard - Durant (Okla.) Silo H.S./ Murray State College

Helped Silo High School to three straight state championships batting .370 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs earning all-conference and all-region honors in 2012. Will head to Norman after lettering at Murray State College.

Bryant Hodge - Moore (Okla.) Christian Heritage Academy

Was named Amateur Baseball Report's National Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011 while playing at Christian Heritage Academy.

Trey Michalczewski - Jenks (Okla.)

Helped the Trojans to back-to-back conference and regional titles in 2011 and 2012 lettering three straight years in both baseball and football.

Travis Remillard- Norman (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M

A late addition to the Sooners 2014 class Remillard lettered in baseball at Norman High School before moving on and lettering for NEO.

Caleb Simpson - Norman (Okla.) Norman North/ Seminole State

Four year letter winner for head coach Brian Aylor at Norman North twice earned all-state and all-conference honors for the Timberwolves.

Kyle Stephens - Edmond (Okla.) Edmond North

Three year letter winner at Edmond North High School earned all-city honors while leading the Huskies to the school's first state title in 2012.

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