Baylor series looms large for OU's NCAA hopes

NORMAN, Okla. — Saying this weekend is a must-win series would be an understatement.

The Sooners are on NCAA life support coming into the second-to-last weekend of the regular season.

Most college baseball analysts have them on the outside of the field looking in.

They sit fifth in a weak Big 12 Conference at their 10-10 mark, behind Baylor, who has already claimed the title, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas.

They're just 30-19 overall with a mediocre No. 67 RPI.

Because of that, they'll need to do something no other conference foe has done this year, and that's defeat the Baylor Bears.

Baylor boasts the nation's No. 2 ranking, a perfect 18-0 Big 12 record, and is 28-1 its last 29 times out.

That includes a 24-game winning streak that was only snapped when Texas-San Antonio knocked the Bears off 4-1 about two weeks ago.

So, the Sooners will have their work cut out for them, to say the least.

An OU squad that has won 12 of its last 17 despite dropping two of three to Oklahoma State last weekend must fend off the hottest team in the nation.

The Bears won the season series last year, taking games one and three by counts of 4-2 and 3-2.

OU took the middle game of the three game set 5-4, a trend that has occurred seven of the 15 times the two have faced off in a three-game series.

The two are tied at 29 wins apiece in the all-time series, but Baylor has won eight of the series.

In those, winning game one has been key.

The team who has escaped out of the opener has claimed 12 of the 15 series, and most of the games in the overall series have been extremely close.

Thirty-five of the 58 contests have been decided by three runs or less and Baylor has claimed 19 of those.

Twenty games have been decided by a single run, and each team has won half of those.

No doubt, history suggests a competitive series.

In fact, only twice has a team swept the three-game set, with OU doing so both times back in 2004 and 2009.

The two, who played just twice back in the 2010 regular season due to rain, will get a late start in this one as rain postponed the opener until 2 p.m. Saturday.

OU and Baylor will face off in a doubleheader before the series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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