WACO, Texas -- The trouble on the road continued for the Oklahoma baseball team against No. 15/17 Baylor in game one of the three-game set on Friday at Baylor Ballpark.
The Sooners fell 5-3 after recording just four hits in the ball game despite receiving another solid performance on the mound from starter Steven Guerra.
OU is 1-5 in road games this season and 3-8 overall (including neutral games) when playing away from L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Despite holding a 3-2 lead after three and a half innings, the Sooners' offense stalled and could not provide Guerra with more run support. OU, who collected four hits in the first four innings, did not record a hit after that span.
From the fifth inning on, the Sooners stranded their only two base runners (both walks) in the sixth inning. Guerra fell to 3-2 on the year despite throwing seven strong innings.
“Its an unfortunate loss because Guerra pitched strong and we are a better offensive team than this,” said head coach Larry Cochell. “When you only get four hits in a game, the end result is most likely not going to be a positive one, especially in this conference.”
Baylor’s Josh Ford provided the RBI single, in the seventh, and that proved to be the game winner. Mike Pankratz was only 1-for-3 from the plate for the Bears but recorded two RBI and his second one, in the eighth, gave the Bears a two-run lead, 5-3. Ryan LaMotta nailed down the game with a spotless relief appearance that included six strike outs and zero hits allowed in three innings pitched.
Baylor got off to a quick start by adding two runs in the bottom of the second inning off a pair of RBI singles by Pankratz and Kevin Sevigny.
The Sooners countered in their next at bat with a two-out rally that saw them plate three runs on three hits in the third frame. Aaron Ivey jump started the offense in the inning with a two-out single that found its way through the middle of the infield. Then Chuckie Caufield singled and Russell Raley walked before Ivey would cross the plate on a wild pitch that would also move up the runners. The rally continued with a walk by Kody Kaiser and a two-run single to right field by Ryan Rohlinger to plate Caufield and Raley.
Besides Caufield, Ivey and Rohlinger, Jackson Williams was the only other Sooner to collect a hit, a two-out double in the fourth inning. OU left five runners on base in the contest to Baylor’s six.
OU’s 3-2 lead would only last till the bottom of the fourth inning when Baylor knotted things up with another RBI by Sevigny on a ground out. After that run, the teams went hitless for two and a half innings as Guerra settled down and retired eight of the next ten batters he faced.
BU’s Trey Taylor saw 5.2 innings of action on Friday. The lefty struck out three, walked four and surrendered three earned runs on four hits.
Guerra made his first start since throwing a three-hit gem against Texas A&M a week ago, a performance that landed him a Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honor. On Friday, Guerra lasted seven innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks.
The right-hander also struck out two batters and allowed minimal damage, to keep OU within striking distance, in the seventh inning after Baylor put four runners on base but only managed to plate one of them on Guerra’s 100th pitch of the game. On that pitch, Josh Ford hit a single to right field for the go-ahead run.
Kevin Duke relieved Guerra in the bottom of the eighth inning and his outing was short lived after retiring the lead-off batter before allowing a triple by Reid Brees. With one out in the frame, Tyler Gooch took the mound and made Pankratz ground out to shortstop Freddy Rodriguez but not before Brees crossed the plate to give the Bears an insurance run.
The loss snapped the Sooners three-game winning streak. OU has now played a ranked opponent in five of the last six games (TCU, Texas A&M-3) and is 4-2 in that span.
OU falls to 16-10 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 action while Baylor improves to 18-10 and 5-2. The series will continue on Saturday at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on KOKC 1520 AM with OU’s Brad Burns (1-0) throwing against BU’s Mark McCormick (3-1).