OU-TCU Midweek Clash: Breaking It Down

NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 10 Sooners are a bi-polar team.

One week they'll play error-filled ball and won't be able to hit any pitch even if it was lobbed in or teed up for them.

The next week they'll play like a title contender.

OU's (29-11) consistently inconsistent play has caused head coach Sunny Golloway to ask members of the media before practice a couple of weeks ago how his team could play like an elite team one day and so poorly just a few days later.

The Sooners travel to Fort Worth, Texas, for a huge midweek game against the No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs at 6:30 tonight to conclude a two-game season series.

OU won the season's first meeting 13-6 on April 12.

Here are a few things that will be different about this midweek's clash between two top-10 teams than the last time they met:

1. The RPI gained may be more important this time around – The Sooners' victory earlier this month was big, but they could have lost that game and still been okay in terms of hosting a regional. OU is not as lucky this time around. It was coming off a low after dropping two games against Kansas State and used the TCU game as a possible launch point. As we've seen since that game, the Sooners haven't taken advantage of that big midweek win and have struggled. Because they struggled, they find themselves in a hole now that they can't afford to jump back into if they don't build off their sweep against Nebraska this past weekend. OU is a borderline regional host, and while losing this game will not kill that dream, it could send the Sooners into Texas with a sour taste in their mouths that could become even more pungent if they see their host dreams squashed by their conference rivals in Austin next weekend. So, this game can't be squandered if OU wants to keep building on its current momentum and make a case to be a regional host.

2. The seasoned vet is on the mound – Golloway decided to use the pitching-by-committee approach when these two teams met last time, but this time he's going with senior pitcher Bobby Shore to try to sweep the season series. Shore is making the start not because his status has been reduced to the midweek starter role for not performing well over the weekend but because his last scheduled start was rained out. So, why use a different arm when he should be good to go? There's no reason to, and Golloway knows it. Also, using Shore instead of an underclassman – either redshirt freshman Jordan John or true freshman Dillon Overton – shows how important this game is to Golloway. He wants to win it, and he does so with good reason. This game is very important for OU's postseason future, and winning it could be looked back upon and be seen as a signature victory and a reason why the Sooners were in such a good position to reach Omaha (all of this is hypothetical of course).

3. The venue changes the tone – Playing in Fort Worth is obviously different than playing in the friendly confines of Norman, and the Sooners have been a different team on the road than they have been at home. So, this point is a no-brainer when it comes to those two statements. The reason why it's on here is because the last three games at TCU have been closer affairs than the games in Norman. The last three meetings at Lupton Stadium have been close games decided by no more than two runs, and two of the last three games there have been one-run contests. The story is a little different when OU and TCU meet at L. Dale Mitchell Park during the last four seasons (using four because this year's game at home is being included). The Sooners have won three of those four games by at least five runs, and this season's victory was not as close as the seven-run difference tells everyone. So expect some crazy things in Fort Worth on Tuesday, but above anything else, expect a good, tough-fought game between two good teams.

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