NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners (24-20) got a much needed win, 5-4, on Tuesday over Wichita State (34-19) at L. Dale Mitchell Park to split the four-game home stand and they will now hit the road for a pivotal Big 12 series with Kansas State.
OU used a four-run fifth inning to take a two-run advantage and the Sooners’ bullpen, led by Will Savage and Garrett Patterson, held down the lead. Savage pitched 4.2 innings after taking over for starter John Brownell in the fourth inning.
Savage earned the win after recording three strikeouts and allowing one run on five hits. Patterson then entered the game in the ninth to record his second save of the season.
It was the first game under interim head coach Sunny Golloway after the Sooners’ previous head coach, Larry Cochell, resigned on Sunday. Golloway won 335 games in eight seasons at the helm of the Oral Roberts baseball program (1996-2003) before returning to OU last season, where he was an assistant in the early 1990s.
“These young men really deserved something good to happen,” said Golloway. “I am really happy for them and this could not have come at a better time.”
After three scoreless innings of baseball, the Shockers took the game’s initial lead with two runs in the fourth frame. Danny Jackson provided the first WSU run on a sacrifice fly that plated Joe Muich. The next batter, Tyler Hill, singled home Damon Sublett and that run ended Brownell’s night. The right-hander struck out one batter in 3.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and zero walks.
The Sooners would rally in the fifth inning with a four-run outburst. The four runs were the most OU had scored in an inning since the April 19 game against UT-Arlington.
The scoring got started with consecutive singles by Freddy Rodriguez, Kevin Smith and Chuckie Caufield to lead off the frame. Kody Kaiser then flied out to record the inning’s first out, but Russell Raley came up to the plate with a clutch double down the right-field line. The hit, which scored Rodriguez and Smith, extended Raley’s hitting streak to ten games. Raley’s streak is the currently the longest by any Sooner and in that span, he has collected 15 hits and 10 RBI.
Eric Thornton drove in the other two runs in the fifth with another RBI double down the right-field line. Raley and Caufield scored on the play.
OU added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Jeff Scuderi entered the game as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. Scuderi reached on an infield single and the slow roller to the WSU shortstop allowed Raley to cross the plate and move up the runners. That was all the Sooners got out of the inning but it proved to be enough as Wichita State's rally in the ninth came up short.
Savage kept the Shockers’ offense at bay and retired the side in order in the eighth, before allowing the first earned run in his last five relief appearances (15.1 innings). That run came in the ninth inning and the Shockers added another tally off Patterson before he nailed down the save.
With one out and the tying run on third base, Patterson recorded back-to-back strikeouts against Derek Schermerhorn and Muich, to improve OU’s home mark to 19-5 this season.
The Sooners will now return to Big 12 play with a three-game series against Kansas State on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Kansas State, 23-20 overall, enters the weekend in tenth place with 21 conference games under its belt (7-14). OU sits in seventh place at 7-11, trailing a Texas Tech team that is 8-11.