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On top of Big 12 standings, Sooners enter pivotal series against Texas

Apr. 25—Everything seems to be coming together for Oklahoma at the right moment entering the tail end of the conference schedule.

After being picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big 12 standings, the Sooners are comfortably in first place with a three-game cushion. They've won eight straight and have swept four of the six conference series so far.

Looking past this weekend, the Sooners' final three conference series include just one team with a winning record in Big 12 play.

On Friday, Oklahoma hosts the opener of the Red River Rivalry at 6:30 p.m.

If the Sooners can pull out another series win, they'll be in the driver's seat to secure their first regular season crown since 1995. Still, the Longhorns are not a team they can afford to overlook.

Texas was the co-regular season champion last year and made it all the way to the College World Series. On Monday, it was announced that Texas head coach David Pierce was suspended two games for an outburst following his ejection from Sunday's game against TCU.

Pierce served the first game of his suspension on Tuesday against UT Arlington and will also miss Friday's opener.

The Longhorns are in a three-way tied for second place in the standings at 11-7. Still, despite their seven losses, they've managed to win five of the six series they've played this season.

Their pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.75, which is tied for third in the conference and their defense has a fielding percentage of 0.977.

They also lead the conference in total home runs (81) and are the only team with three or more players with double digits homers this season.

Oklahoma hasn't been able to rely on the deep ball as much, but has been on a furious pace in recent weeks at the plate. The Sooners have scored double-digits runs in six of their last eight conference games and are third in the conference in runs scored.

Bryce Madron had three home runs at the plate last weekend against BYU and was named Big 12 Player of the Week. He had seven RBI in Saturday's win, which tied for the most by an OU player since 2010.

Braden Davis is once again expected to start the series opener.

The junior lefty pitched over six innings last weekend against BYU and gave up five hits, three earned runs and had 11 strikeouts.

Oklahoma swept the regular season series against Texas last year and has won four straight against their Red River rivals.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com