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More Weekend Struggles in Norman

Bears salvage a Sunday win but drop another weekend series.

Tyler Thomas was good again, in a loss.

Another disappointing weekend for the Bears, this time in Norman. Friday night saw Tyler Thomas perform again, but get his 3rd loss of the season. He now has 41 K’s to 5 walks on the year, with a 1.79 ERA, and is 3-3. The offense is averaging exactly 2 runs per game on Friday nights this year. Yes, that is when you see the other team’s best starting pitcher, but more pressure has to be applied on Friday nights.

Saturday saw Kobe Andrade turn in a great start, giving the Bears 5 shutout innings and leaving the game with a 3-0 lead. He may have solidified himself as the Saturday starter in his first opportunity. He was aggressive in the strike zone and efficient, maybe we will see his pitch count rise throughout the rest of the year. Mason Marriott came in relief of Kobe, and was again all over the place. He walked 5 and gave up 4 earned runs in 2.1 innings. The freshman has struggled since a good start to his first season, and now seems to be putting a lot of pressure on himself to find it. He left a bases loaded jam to Matt Voelker who gave up a grand slam to tie the game, After the Bears failed to score in the 9th, two hits off Voelker and an error on a bunt left the bases loaded again for the Sooners. Hambleton Oliver’s first and only pitch out to left for the second grand slam in two innings and walk off win.

Sunday saw Will Rigney get slapped around a little bit for the first time, giving up 6 earned on 7 hits in 4.1 innings. However Sunday that wouldn’t matter as the Bears offense woke up for 14 hits and 16 runs. Jared McKenzie and Kyle Nevin both had big weekends, and continue to improve on their slow starts to the year. If there is any bright spot to the weekend, it is that the offense and Jared McKenzie seem to still be slowly getting better. The bullpen issues are glaring at the moment, as there does not seem to be any one person we can trust consistently to get people out in the middle and late innings. Unfortunately this is a problem that can only be fixed by multiple pitchers turning their seasons around in a hurry.

Tuesday the Bears’ offense looked good again and put up 15 runs on UT Arlington, but pitching gave up 9 with a lot of struggles again. I’m not focused on Tuesday games that we should win by 6 or more runs.

What I’m focused on is that this team is not going to even sniff the NCAA tournament at this pace. The offense has underperformed as a group as well as the individual stars. Richardson, and Pineda have been the only consistent hitters in the lineup for the full season. Jared McKenzie has struggled until recently, and if the guys in the lineup behind him don’t hit, he won’t see enough good pitches to hit to make a difference.

This season I had high hopes for the Bears, and thought if the bullpen could perform we would be able to win some games. The bullpen has been bad, and the offense is not as potent as the last couple years, despite having most of the same guys in the lineup. We also have yet to play the three best teams in the conference. 3 teams that absolutely mash the baseball and score a lot of runs, in Oklahoma State, Texas, and Tech. If our bullpen isn’t improved by those series, we could be in for some rough scores.

Onward. We have East Tennessee State in Waco this weekend for three, and a short break from Big 12 play. We need all 3. #SicEm