MANHATTAN, Kan. The University of Oklahoma baseball team (25-21, 8-12 Big 12) evened the three-game series at one apiece with a 10-8 extra innings win against Kansas State (25-21, 8-15) Saturday afternoon.
Senior Eric Thornton delivered Oklahoma’s eventual game-winning run in the top of the 11th with a floating line drive that fell between the outfielders in left center, scoring freshman Kody Kaiser, who doubled to the same spot two at-bats earlier to place himself in scoring position.
“During the course of the season,” OU head coach Sunny Golloway said, “we’ve never tried to call out one game over another, but this one was huge. To be down early, and face that adversity, and for the team to respond like they did was tremendous.”
Junior pitcher Will Savage (6-3) earned the win, shutting down Kansas State for the final 2 2/3 innings of the contest, allowing just two hits and a walk from the 10 batters he faced.
Oklahoma overcame its largest deficit of the season in victory, trailing 7-2 to the Wildcats after seven. The Sooners scored six runs in the eighth and ninth innings with the assistance of some clutch hitting by the team’s veterans.
“We’ve talked all season about character,” Golloway continued, “and this team has character. These guys don’t quit.”
In the eighth, Thornton drove in junior third baseman Ryan Rohlinger, who reached on a leadoff double, and himself with the first of three crucial home runs the Sooners would hit in the ballgame. Two batters later, junior second baseman Russell Raley blasted his own round-tripper, scoring senior Matt Bose, who reached first by running out a perfectly-laid bunt down the third base line.
Rohlinger homered his next at-bat, scoring Kaiser and putting OU up 9-8. Kaiser legged out a close chance at a KSU double play to ensure Rohlinger would represent the go-ahead run.
KSU’s Mat Marasco forced a walk from OU reliever Garrett Patterson with the bases loaded to tie the score a 9-9 and force extra innings.
Lightning in the area delayed the game for 24 minutes in the top of the sixth inning.
“You can point out defining moments in a season that you know you can try to make a run from,” Golloway said. “This may be one of those defining moments.”
First pitch for the final game of OU’s series with Kansas State is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, May 8.