NORMAN, Okla., -- The Oklahoman baseball team suffered a hard-fought loss, 13-10, to visiting Northwestern State on Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park in 12 innings.
It marked the first extra-inning game for OU this season and also the Sooners first loss at home. OU is now 8-1 at L. Dale Mitchell Park and will continue its current six-game home stand on Saturday against the Demons at 1 p.m.
OU began the ball game with three runs in the first inning with two runs coming off of Ryan Rohlinger’s bat. The junior roped a double to left center that scored Eric Thornton and Kody Kaiser. But the Demons knotted things up in the next frame with three runs off of junior right-hander Steven Guerra.
Guerra made his fifth start of the year and only lasted four innings in which he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits. Russell Raley, Kevin Smith and Raley each produced RBI singles in the fourth inning that put three runs on the board. That allowed Guerra, who managed to strike out five opposing batters, to leave the game with OU ahead, 7-6.
P.J. Sandoval came in out of the OU bullpen to try and quite the Demons’ offense but was unable to keep the Sooners ahead after allowing three runs in two innings pitched. He was relieved by Daniel McCutchen who turned in another strong performance out of the OU bullpen. McCutchen threw three innings of two-hit ball and allowed one run after striking out two.
Going into the bottom of the eighth, OU trailed 10-7 and cut the lead to one after Eric Thornton’s two-run home run in the eighth that cleared the right field fence. It was Thornton’s first bomb of the season and his third RBI of the game.
The Sooners completed the comeback with a single run in the bottom of the ninth and had a chance to win the contest with the bases loaded and two outs. But Thornton could not produce another clutch hit just an inning after blasting a two-run shot.
The teams went scoreless for the 10th and 11th innings and in the 12th frame, Northwestern State made its move to take the lead and close out the game.
Junior Will Savage started the 10th inning for OU and held the Demons to just one hit in his first two innings pitched. But the wheels seemed to come off in the 12th and final inning as the visitors produced three runs on four hits.
After homering to lead off the sixth inning, it was once again Mile Durham providing the heroics for Northwestern State in the 12th. Durham tripled to left center with two runners on and finished the game, after coming in as a pinch hitter, with a 2-for-3 performance and three RBI.
Shawn Johnston recorded the win and improved to 2-1 while Will Savage fell to 2-1 on the season.
OU produced 10 runs on 18 hits, led by Rohlinger’s four hits and two RBI in the game. During his current eight-game hitting streak, Rohlinger is batting .559 with 18 hits (three doubles), 10 RBI and a .706 slugging percentage. Junior Freddy Rodriguez also extended his current hitting streak to eight games.
Smith (two RBI) and Kody Kaiser (RBI) also helped pace the Sooners to 10 runs on Friday and in its last four games, OU has scored a combined 61 runs.
OU falls to 10-5 after Friday’s action while Northwestern State improves to 15-5 and it has won 12 of its last 13 games. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m. and Garrett Patterson (LHP) is expected to start for the Sooners while the Demons will throw Daniel Lonsberry (RHP). Sunday’s finale will also began at 1 p.m. with Brad Burns (OU) and Kyle Broughton (RHP) listed as the game’s probable starters.