Bedlam can turn around Oklahoma's season; SS Brandon Zaragoza says 'I don't like 'em'

Sooners are just 1-8 against OSU since 2019 and could use some wins this weekend to kick things in the right direction
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Oklahoma shortstop Brandon Zaragoza has a handful of reasons to be excited about the opportunity to play Bedlam rival Oklahoma State this weekend.

One, he’s 1-8 all-time in his career against the Cowboys. Two, last year’s four games — three Big 12 Conference matchups and a non-conference game — were canceled by COVID. Three, Zaragoza said Thursday that he relishes the bitter nature of Bedlam.

“I’ll never be tired of playing Oklahoma State,” Zaragoza said during a video press conference. “They’re our rival for a reason. I don’t like ‘em.”

The biggest reason Zaragoza and his teammates are excited about playing OSU: the Sooners (20-19) need to turn their season around, and beating a rival could do just that.

“Just need to get on a roll,” said OU pitcher Jason Ruffcorn.


BEDLAM BASEBALL

Friday, 6 p.m.

  • O’Brate Stadium, Stillwater
  • Big 12 Now on ESPN+

Saturday, 3 p.m.

  • L. Dale Mitchell Park, Norman
  • Bally Sports Oklahoma

Sunday, 4 p.m.

  • L. Dale Mitchell Park, Norman
  • ESPNU

The Sooners are just 4-8 in Big 12 play. OSU (24-12-1, 7-8) is in their way to having a satisfying season.

“They’re really good,” said OU coach Skip Johnson, “and we’re not very good and it should be a good opportunity for us.”

Oklahoma has hovered around .500 much of the season. Injuries have been devastating, particularly on the pitching staff. But even after a six-game mid-season winning streak, the Sooners were just 12-7. Since then, they’re only 8-12, with series losses to Texas, TCU and Kansas State, an extra-inning midweek loss to OSU and last week’s baffling series loss to Georgia Southern.

“We’re looking at this series as, like you said, that starting point of ‘Hey, we can turn this thing around, but it starts today,’ ” Zaragoza said. “But we just have to take it one game at at time and see where it takes us.”

Imagine the shot in the arm Oklahoma can get from beating a rival — especially one that’s tormented the Sooners so thoroughly over the past four seasons. Coming up, OU hosts Texas Tech in a midweek non-conference game, then travels to West Virginia for a Big 12 series and taking on OSU again in a non-league game on May 11.

Maybe a strong performance — more to the point, winning, beating the Cowboys for a change — can propel the Sooners into their final two series against Texas Tech and Baylor and into the postseason.

“Absolutely. You’re 100 percent right,” Johnson said. “A series like this that’s a rival can always turn your season around. There’s no doubt about that. Bedlam, what’s it mean? What’s it mean to you? We talk about that. I think that’s the thing we’ve got to continue to do and talk about so it becomes a part of who they are day in and day out.”

“Playing against Oklahoma State,” Zaragoza said, “it’s always a fun opportunity. They’re one of our rivals. But at the same time, it’s just another opportunity to play baseball.”