OU's Prater named Pitcher of the Week

University of Oklahoma sophomore Levi Prater was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Monday. Prater is a former All-State player for Byng High School.

NORMAN – Oklahoma baseball sophomore Levi Prater was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week after his sharp performance at Rice on Sunday, the league office announced Monday.

Prater — a former Byng High School ace — was outstanding in the 6-0 series-clinching victory on Sunday, pitching a career-long eight shutout innings and matching his career high with nine strikeouts. He allowed three hits and one walk, and just two runners reached second base against him. He ended his outing by striking out the side to strand a single in the seventh, then sat down the Owls in order in the eighth inning.

Prater is 3-1 with a team-low 1.09 ERA and has tallied 25 strikeouts in 24.2 innings with a .198 opponent batting average. He has pitched 14 consecutive scoreless innings in his last two starts, both OU shutouts.

This is Prater’s first career Big 12 weekly honor, and the third for the Sooners this season. Tyler Hardman (Player of the Week) and Nathan Wiles (Pitcher of the Week) took home the honors on Feb. 25.

He transitioned slowly to a starter role toward the end of last season.

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.

The Sooners host Missouri State in a three-game series this weekend in Norman. The first contest against the Bears is at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.