Baseball: Keys to Earning a Host Site

The NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament is lurking in the near future, and the Sooners have a chance to host, so here are a few things, a combination of which could convince the committee to place L. Dale Mitchell Park as a regional host site.

1. OU defeats No. 10 Arkansas on Tuesday—Lately, the Sooners have been in a slump against the Arkansas Razorbacks, as they dropped all three games against them last year, including an 8-7 decision in extra innings in Fayetteville, Ark., before a pair of losses to the Hogs in the Norman Regional in last year's tournament. And in order to get another statement win on its resume (OU defeated No. 7 TCU twice earlier this year), OU must get revenge at the expense of the 12th-ranked Razorbacks. But that won't be an easy task. Arkansas has surged out to a 38-13 record, including a 16-10 mark in the SEC, four games ahead of last year's national champion LSU Tigers. And they are a stacked ball club. Nevertheless, OU has the lineup that could produce enough runs to top them.

2. Win their final conference series to go 7-2 in Big 12 series play—If the Sooners could defeat the Jayhawks in a three-game set at Lawrence, Kan., next weekend, they would finish conference play this year winning seven of their nine series. Granted, one of those was a 1-0 series victory over the Baylor Bears due to a washout, but that is still impressive in conference play.

3. Finish second in the conference—Along with this comes the fact that OU could finish second in the Big 12. Say the Sooners defeat the Jayhawks in two of three games, and second-place Kansas State drops two of three to Texas A&M. That would allow the Sooners to finish ahead of the Wildcats by a half game. Take another scenario: OU sweeps KU and Kansas State wins the series over Texas A&M, but only two games to one. In that situation, OU would be 15-10, and KSU would sit at 15-11, still a half game back. Either way, the Sooners would finish second in the conference race, and the top two in the Big 12 are very likely to host.

4. Have a successful showing in the Big 12 Tournament—If OU could close out the regular season with a series win and follow it up by advancing from their pool to the Big 12 Championship, it would be huge. Even if they won a couple of games and just had a good appearance at Bricktown Ballpark, though, it would go a long way towards securing a regional host site.

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