NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners rallied from a 3-0 deficit to come back and defeat Texas Tech, 6-3, on Friday in the Big 12 series opener at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Daniel McCutchen turned in another stellar start on the mound for his third win of the season and Will Savage closed things out in the ninth for his third save.
OU used three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to win its fifth consecutive game and jump to 8-2 in the last 10 contests. Freshman Jackson Williams provided the game-winning hit, with the bases loaded, on a clutch single that plated Kevin Smith and Eric Thornton late in the game.
Williams has been hot as of late, hitting .444 (8-for-18) since breaking out of an 0-for-26 slump against Oklahoma State in the series opener. Including that game against the Cowboys, Williams has two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in the last six games.
Texas Tech jumped out to an early lead with a three-run third inning off McCutchen and the Sooners’ defense. OU committed two errors in the inning to allow the three unearned runs. From that inning on, OU’s starter cruised all the way to the ninth inning.
McCutchen recorded nine strikeouts in the ball game in his eight innings of work (114 pitches). The Norman native allowed six hits and walked two in his first win in the last three starts. Over his six Big 12 starts, McCutchen is averaging eight strikeouts per game.
With McCutchen taking care of business, the OU offense came alive with a single run in the bottom of the third inning off a RBI groundout by Freddy Rodriguez, scoring Chuckie Caufield.
It was Rodriguez again, who pulled OU within one run on a single through the left side of the infield, allowing Williams to score in the fifth frame. Rodriguez has now collected 17 hits in the last 11 games for OU, including four RBI.
The Sooner offense kept rolling with another one-run inning, this time in the sixth, as Smith scored his second run of the game after Chuckie Caufield reached base on an error by Tech’s first baseman. Aaron Ivey, who was on second, also tried to score on the play, but the go ahead run was gunned down to end the frame.
With the score tied at three runs apiece, McCutchen retired eight straight batters over a span that started in the fifth inning and continued into the eighth inning. Even more impressive was the four consecutive batters he retired in a row via a strikeout. His hard work finally paid off after Williams singled with the bases loaded in the eighth, giving OU a 5-3 lead. Caufield helped pad that lead with a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing home Jeff Scuderi.
That was all Sooner reliever Will Savage would need to close the door on Texas Tech. Savage, who has appeared in 10 of OU’s last 11 games, recorded his third save of the year as the right-hander allowed two hits but recorded a strikeout against Trey Stewart to end the game with runners on second and third base. Savage has allowed just one earned run in his last seven appearances, spanning 15 innings in which he has a 0.60 ERA. He has also only allowed one walk in that span.
Brian Wyatt took the loss in relief of Billy Carnline. Carnline left the game with a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning. Carey Avants led all Tech hitters with a 4-for-5 night that included a RBI.
The win improves OU to 31-22 overall and 12-13 in Big 12 play while the Red Raiders, still fighting for one of the final three remaining spots in the Big 12 tournament, fall to 33-21 and 9-14.
The Sooners were tied for fifth place in the Big 12 standings heading into tonight’s game but now take a small lead over Oklahoma State. The Cowboys played Kansas on Friday but did not finish the game, as play was suspended in the third inning due to technical difficulties with the lights at Hoglund Park in Lawrence, Kan.
The Sooners and Red Raiders will continue the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park, as OU will throw lefty Garrett Patterson (5-2, 3.46 ERA) opposite Texas Tech’s right-hander, Tanner McElroy (2-2, 2.13 ERA).