Oklahoma returns home for four games after clinching a 2-1 road series win at Rice last weekend.
Here are four things to know beforehand:
1. Levi Prater has been the Sooners’ most consistent arm.
The sophomore left-hander was named Big 12 pitcher of the week after throwing eight shutout innings and nine strikeouts Sunday in OU’s 6-0 victory at Rice.
Prater (3-1) holds a team-low 1.09 earned-run average and has thrown a team-high 25 strikeouts. He transitioned slowly to a starter role toward the end of last season and has seen a team-high 24 2/3 innings through 16 games this spring.
He’s helping bolster OU’s staff ERA, which at 2.60 ranks 11th nationally and leads the Big 12.
Being at full strength has helped. Prater’s injury during the UCF series last season set him back some, he admitted.
“I strained my rhomboid in my back and ever since then, it was a problem. I got shut down over summer and started feeling really healthy and I’m feeling really good right now,” Prater said.
2. OU’s series win at Rice was a gut check.
The Sooners (13-3) had lost back-to-back games after falling 7-2 at Dallas Baptist and dropping an 8-1 opener at Rice. OU outscored the Owls 23-8 over the final two games.
3. Brylie Ware’s slow start appears to be over.
He was hitting below .200 through seven games, but drove in five runs last Saturday against Rice. Ware led off the eighth inning with a home run — his second of the week — that put the Sooners ahead for good.
He’s now hitting .322 with 19 hits.
Cade Cavalli’s bat is improving too, after a rough freshman season at the plate. The sophomore pitcher/designated hitter homered in the Rice series finale and finished with four RBIs. He has recorded a hit in five consecutive games.
4. Ben Abram has been a certainty in the midweek role.
The 6-foot-7 freshman from Ontario, Canada is 3-0 in four career starts and has allowed just three earned runs and no walks, with 16 strikeouts. He maintains a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings pitched and is expected to start against Texas Arlington on Tuesday.
OU weekly schedule
• Game: UT Arlington (11-5) at OU (13-3)
• Time: 6:30 p.m.
• Place: L. Dale Mitchell Park
• Pitchers: OU RHP Ben Abram (3-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. UTA RHP Riley Bost (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
• Radio: KREF 1400 am | 99.3 FM
• TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
• Friday: vs. Missouri State (6:30 p.m.)
• Saturday: vs. Missouri State (2 p.m.)
• Sunday: vs. Missouri State (1 p.m.)