NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 19 Oklahoma’s ninth-inning rally came up short on Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park as it fell 6-5 to No. 22 Baylor in the Big 12 opener. The loss dropped OU to 18-6 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 action while Baylor improved to 16-6 and 3-1 in the Big 12.
The last five games between Baylor and OU at L. Dale Mitchell Park have been decided by one run and Friday’s 6-5 loss also ended the Sooners’ five-game winning streak at home against the Bears.
OU held a 3-1 lead for most of the game until Baylor added a run in the seventh inning and took its first lead of the game since the initial frame with a four-run ninth inning.
Down 6-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Sooners put together a two-out rally with a RBI-single by Russell Raley and a fielder’s choice by Freddy Rodriguez which brought the game within one run. But the Sooners’ bid for a fifth comeback victory this season ended when Jackson Williams flew out to center field with the bases loaded.
The Sooners stranded 12 base runners in the contest and lost just their second game of the season when taking a lead into the ninth inning (Arizona State on March 17).
Daniel McCutchen (4-3) took the loss after taking a 3-2 lead into the final frame. McCutchen struck out seven batters on 115 pitches (70 strikes) and allowed four earned runs off seven hits and four walks.
Jake Weghorst (1-0) recorded his first victory of the season for Baylor as he tossed a perfect two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Mandel entered the game to start the ninth inning and nailed down his sixth save of the season. Ryan LaMotta (three earned runs) started the contest for the Bears and lasted 6 2/3 innings with three strikeouts opposite four walks.
Offensively, OU’s Kevin Smith extended his current hitting streak to nine games. In that span, Smith has 12 RBI off four doubles and one home run. Baylor’s Matt Sodolak went 3-for-4 with one RBI and Chase Gerdes finished the contest with two RBI.
The three-game set continues on Saturday at 3 p.m. with OU’s Steven Guerra (7-0, 2.83) expected to throw opposite Baylor’s Cory VanAllen (3-1, 2.89). Saturday’s game can be heard live on KOKC 1520 AM immediately following the completion of the OU women’s basketball Sweet 16 game in the NCAA Tournament set for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.