ARLINGTON, Texas — The Oklahoma Sooners are out of the Big 12 Baseball Tournament, which means stump season is on for head coach Skip Johnson.
With the Sooners’ 8-3 loss to Oklahoma State on Friday night, the Sooners (31-26) have to hope that the NCAA Tournament selection committee decides to give the Sooners an invite.
It’s not a done deal. Oklahoma is a bubble team. Before the Sooners’ loss to OSU, Baseball America had the Sooners as a ‘First Four Out’ for the NCAA Tournament.
On Saturday morning, another check had the Sooners as not just a ‘First Four Out’ team, but the first team out of the field.
So, on Friday night, Johnson was given a platform to make his team’s case for inclusion and he took it.
“I think we’re healthy now,” Johnson said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. I mean, you look at our record when we have Kendall (Pettis), when we have Brett (Squires) out, it was a big difference. You can really see the big difference in that. I mean, it was right in the middle of our conference, but I think really believe in my heart that would have been a totally different team if those guys were healthy.”
Johnson also pointed to the Sooners’ overall schedule and RPI as factors for being included in the field.
“We’ve won against really good teams,” Johnson said. “I mean, how many times do you go and beat the Friday night starter from Stanford and the Saturday guy from Stanford? We got killed on Thursday and Sunday, but we beat their two best arms. Then you look at going to DBU (Dallas Baptist) on a Tuesday night when they’ve been killing people. I mean, you don’t walk into the University of Texas in Austin ever and sweep them.”
The Sooners did split four games with Stanford in late March and early April in Norman. The Sooners did sweep Texas — the Big 12 tri-champs with Oklahoma State and West Virginia — just a month ago. The DBU game was in early May and the Sooners won that game, 10-7.
And that RPI? The Sooners are ranked No. 40. That puts them among the Top 64 teams in the nation.
The Sooners made the College World Series last season, Johnson pointed out, and repeated a mantra used by coaches at this time of the year.
“Why not us? Why not?” he said. “If we get that opportunity? I mean last year nobody believed in us. Look what happened?”
The Sooners will have to wait until Monday to find out.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard