NORMAN, Okla. --The No. 19 Sooners rallied from behind for the fifth time this season to record an 11-10 victory over No. 22 Baylor on Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The win also helped OU claim a 2-1 series victory over the Bears and improved its overall mark to 20-6 and 2-1 in Big 12 action. Baylor dropped to 16-8 and 3-3 in conference play.
Six of the last seven games between OU and BU at L. Dale Mitchell Park have been decided by one run. OU's lone loss in that span was Friday's 6-5 defeat in the series opener.
Baylor jumped out on top early and built an 8-0 lead, but the Sooners used a four-run fifth and a five-run eighth inning to take their first lead of the game at 11-8. It was the largest deficit OU has overcome this season to record a win (four runs against Texas State was previous high).
“Things did not go our way early and we battled through a lot of adversity to record a win,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “The four-spot in the fifth inning gave the guys the confidence to come back in this game and I am really proud of the way we stayed in the game today.”
Will Savage, who despite allowing two runs in the ninth, was effective as he pitched the last three innings of the contest to improve to 2-1. Savage allowed the two runs on three hits and zero walks and he also struck out three batters.
OU took its first lead with Ryan Rohlinger’s two-run double to right field after Matt Sevigny lost a fly ball in the sun, which allowed OU to jump ahead 10-8. The eighth-inning rally started earlier in the frame after Chuckie Caufield singled to right field to plate Kody Kaiser. In the next at-bat, Aaron Reza’s sacrifice fly brought home Jackson Williams and the scoring in the eighth ended on Kevin Smith’s double to right center which increased OU’s cushion to three runs.
After being blanked for the first four frames, Smith helped plate OU’s first run on a RBI-single to right field. The next batter, Freddy Rodriguez, stepped up to the plate with two runners on and belted his first career homer. The three-run shot to left field cut the Baylor lead in half, 8-4.
The Sooners scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh and again it was Smith and Rodriguez providing the offense. Smith doubled to right center field to plate Rohlinger and then scored on Rodriguez’s bloop single down the left-field line.
Smith finished the game with three hits and three RBI and extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games, which is also a high for any Sooner this season. During that span, Smith has connected for 19 hits (six doubles) and 15 RBI. Additionally, Smith hit .571 in the series (8-for-14) with four RBI. Rohlinger also finished the game with three hits and drove in two runs while Rodriguez drove in a career-high four RBI on two hits.
Baylor’s Kevin Russo led the way with three RBI on a 2-for-5 day at the plate. Nick Cassavechia, who allowed six runs (three unearned), took the loss and dropped to 3-1 this season.
OU starter P.J. Sandoval last four innings after allowing five runs and Baylor’s Tim Matthews was solid for four innings before surrendering the four run fifth inning.
The Sooners pounded out 15 hits and stranded six runners opposite the Bears’ 13 base hits and four runners left on base. The 15 base hits for the Sooners marked the 11th time this season that they recorded 10 or more hits in a game. In addition, OU posted 10 or more runs for the ninth time this season.
The Sooners resume action on Tuesday, March 28 against Dallas Baptist. First pitch at L. Dale Mitchell Park is scheduled for 7 p.m. After the mid-week contest, OU will host Texas (19-10, 4-1 Big 12) for a three-game set next weekend. The entire series will be broadcast live on ESPNU and can also be heard on KOKC 1520 AM.