Sooners have positives, negatives in first 19

The OU baseball team has completed a large part of its nonconference slate, and the result is a 17-2 start heading into conference play, so it's time for an assessment of two major positives and two negatives about the first part of the season.

The positives

1.The Sooners have protected their home—While 12 of their 19 games have been away from Norman, they have taken care of business in their seven games at L. Dale Mitchell Park. OU beat South Florida twice by one run (5-4 and 4-3), dominated Western Illinois 12-1, and came from behind to defeat Stephen F. Austin 5-4 to complete a perfect 4-0 Sooner Classic. After that, OU beat Houston Baptist 9-1 and swept a pair against Massachusetts by scores of 4-2 and 8-4. Winning games at home and taking care of business is huge.

2.OU has had clutch hitting—The Sooners had a pair of ninth inning comebacks in the Sooner Classic, one of several comebacks so far this year. First, OU shortstop Caleb Bushyhead came through in the ninth against South Florida. Then, in the final game that weekend, Cameron Seitzer hit a home run, and Chris Ellison's one-out fielder's choice helped change a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win.

The negatives

1.They have allowed some inferior teams to hang around--Winning close games is crucial, but many of those have been against inferior teams. As the season progresses, it becomes even more and more critical to jump on teams that are lesser in talent. Continuing to let lower quality teams stay in games late is bad news.

2.The Sooners had a moderately bad loss—At the time, although early in the year, Jacksonville had only a 2-3 record before defeating the Sooners. Since that victory, Jacksonville has won eight of its next 12, so it's not as bad as it seems. But when it comes down to bracket pairing for the NCAA tournament, losing games like these can prevent teams from being a regional host.

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