Sooners, Owls set for Game 1

Oklahoma senior righthander Steven Guerra (pictured) will take the mound in Game 1 against Rice ace Eddie Degerman at 6 p.m. tonight in Houston. Degerman (12-1, 1.67 ERA) one-hit the Sooners in the first matchup between the two teams on February 17. Today's game will be televised on ESPN2. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

Sunny Golloway's Oklahoma Sooners are just two wins away from a trip to the College World Series. The only problem is that standing in their way is top-ranked Rice.

The Sooners (44-20) and Owls (53-10) will begin a best-of-three series tonight at 6 p.m. in Houston in Game 1 of a Super Regional for a trip to Omaha.

Rice comes into the game riding a 13-game winning streak, but that won't intimidate the Sooners who ended the Owls' 14-game winning streak with a 15-3 rout on April 18 in Norman.

"They are ranked No. 1 in the country in everyone's poll and for good reason," said Golloway on the Owls. "I think they have won 31 of their last 33. Of course, one of those losses was the 15-3 loss here in Norman. However, we do know we are playing them down there where we lost 8-2 early in the year in a tournament."

Oklahoma will start senior righthander Steven Guerra, while Rice will counter with a senior righthander of their own in 6-foot-4 Eddie Degerman.

"(Degerman) may be one of the best righthanders around," Golloway said. "He is 12-1 with a 1.67 ERA. He has a real funky delivery right over the top and he stretches up on top of his toe. He has a little jerky motion, but we have to find a way to hit him. It might be just being very patient because his breaking ball is out of the zone a lot. One way or another we have to score runs, and we know that."

Degerman also has experience againt Oklahoma. He shut down the Sooners in the Owls' 8-2 win over Oklahoma on February 17 in Houston. The recent fourth round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals and Collegiate Baseball Magazine first-team All-American gave up just one hit in seven innings while striking out 11 Sooners.

Guerra, who saved the Sooners with a great performance last Saturday in an elimination game win against Houston, is 11-3 with a 3.59 ERA.

Wayne Graham's Owls are making their sixth Super Regional appearance, second only to Miami, while the Sooners are making their first.

Saturday night's game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. The game will be called by Dave Barnett and former major leaguer Keith Moreland.

Game 2 is scheduled for 12 p.m. Sunday with a potential Game 3 set for 12 p.m. Monday. Sunday and Monday's games will be televised on ESPN and ESPNU.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories