Virginia is good, but OU is one of the hottest teams in all of college baseball. The Sooners are on a four-game winning streak and have won 12 of their last 13 games. Their only loss during that streak came against Baylor during the Big 12 Tournament in a game where they looked defeated and uninspired before the first pitch was thrown. But OU quickly turned things around by pounding Kansas State in the final game of the conference tournament and winning three one-run games, two in extra innings, during the Regional round. Now, the players and coaches are walking around and playing with a swagger that they had for brief moments during the regular season, and that confidence and swagger could help carry them all the way to Omaha.
OU thrives in three-game series. Head coach Sunny Golloway has trained his players to believe that winning two games in a series is good enough, and they have taken it to heart. The Sooners won six of their seven conference series by winning two games – they swept their final conference series – and won two of its three games during the Big 12 Tournament. Now OU is in a situation where it can put that mentality to good use to get to the promise land.
The two, three and four-hole hitters must produce. It's great that the Sooners got a lot of their production from their five-through-nine-hole hitters during the Regional round, but they need their offensive leaders, freshman left fielder Max White, sophomore third baseman Garrett Buechele and sophomore first baseman Cameron Seitzer, to step it up. The three combined to go 6-for-35 with two RBIs, one homer (by Buechele), six walks and 14 strikeouts. That kind of production is fine when the rest of the lineup is getting hits and driving in runs, but it won't if the rest of the team needs a jumpstart from the part of the lineup that has done so for most of the season. And those three hitters need to be the ones the team relies on against Virginia's solid pitching staff.
And just stay relaxed. The Sooners have looked and played relaxed in about every game for almost a month, and it has resulted in victories. Even though all the players will have an extra burst of adrenaline running through them because of the situation, they've been in high pressure situations before and will be able to calm their nerves. Simply, if OU plays relaxed, then it'll play better and have a better chance of winning.