Oklahoma’s 2023 season was a rough one. Fresh off their trip to the final of the 2022 College World Series, the Sooners came into the 2023 season looking for similar success. Sure, they lost a lot of guys to the draft and graduation, but it’s hard to imagine that the returning players felt that they couldn’t make a run to the College World Series again.
However, titles aren’t decided on paper. Aside from a mid-season run, Oklahoma started the season flat and fizzled out early in the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners snuck into the NCAA tournament as the second-to-last tournament team. They bowed out after losing two games in the Charlottesville regional.
The constant in almost every loss for the Sooners this year? Pitching.
Oklahoma’s pitching from the beginning of the season to the end never really held up its end of the bargain. Oklahoma finished the season No. 151 nationally in team ERA allowing 5.95 runs per game. Seven of the eight finalists that made it to Omaha this season were in the top 50 in team ERA.
Pitching is the great equalizer; it can fill in many gaps for teams and propel them to new heights.
Skip Johnson and the Sooners coaching staff has made a concerted effort this offseason to add to their pitching staff, landing five transfer pitchers to Oklahoma’s roster for next year.
Oklahoma landed a pair of transfers from Wichita State in Jace Miner and Austin Henry, JUCO transfers Malachi and Kyson Witherspoon, and a recent commitment from Texas Tech transfer righty Brendan Girton.
Oklahoma saw firsthand what Miner and Girton could do as both pitched against Oklahoma this season. Girton pitched four innings of one one-hit ball with four strikeouts in April. Miner faced Oklahoma three times in 5.2 innings of work, allowing zero runs.
Henry may have the highest ceiling. He was a top 75 prospect out of high school. His pedigree is incredibly impressive. He could eventually be a weekend starter at some point next season.
The Witherspoon twins feature nice repertoires and will be essential options for the staff. Both throw low to mid-90 fastballs.
Oklahoma’s only way to continue to push forward as a baseball program, especially as they prepare to move to the SEC, is to construct the caliber of rosters the SEC has.
Three of the eight teams to make it to Omaha this season were from the SEC. The championship series features LSU and Florida. Both teams are potent offensive juggernauts but remain balanced with top 50 pitching and MLB…