OKLAHOMA CITY – The No. 20 University of Oklahoma baseball team dropped a doubleheader to Oklahoma State by scores of 9-7 and 5-2 in front of 7,851 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Saturday. The Sooners fell to 34-20 overall and finished Big 12 play at 12-11, while the Cowboys improved to 26-25 and 8-14.
A win in the series, which was shortened due to two lengthy rain delays on Thursday and Friday, would have assured OU of third place in the Big 12 standings. The Sooners await the final of the Texas-West Virginia Sunday match-up to determine their place in next week's Big 12 Championship in OKC. OSU needed to win both games to secure a spot in the tournament field and with the sweep heads into the week as the eight-seed.
The opener began on Friday afternoon after the two teams were rained out in Tulsa on Thursday night. Play was suspended in the middle of the fifth inning with Oklahoma State ahead 5-2 after one hour and 34 minutes of play. The Cowboys scored first before Oklahoma rallied to take the lead with two runs in the fourth. OSU immediately regained the lead by with four runs on three walks and two hits in the fifth before the rain delay.
“It didn't affect us; it just changed the pitching around a little bit,” stated head coach Pete Hughes regarding the weather. “Both teams went through it and they didn't go through anything we didn't go through and they beat us twice today. Essentially they beat us twice today. They played better baseball than we did.
Play was ultimately suspended for the night after a delay that lasted more than five hours. At the resumption of play, the two sides would trade single tallies on the scoreboard between the sixth and eighth before the Cowboys built their lead to five runs with two in the top of the ninth. Oklahoma mounted a rally in the ninth, but fell short. Trailing by five with the bases loaded, sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) made a bid for a grand slam, but settled for a two-run double after OSU right fielder Jon Littell got his glove on the ball to keep it in the yard.
Righty Tyler Buffett pitched the four innings before the rain delay on Friday for the Cowboys. He allowed two runs on six hits with three strikeouts in a no-decision. The win went to RHP Blake Battenfield (3-4) in 3.1 innings of relief. He surrendered two runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) lasted the full five innings before Friday's delay. Irvin (6-1) took his first loss of the season with five runs scoring on five hits and four walks to go with six strikeouts.
Game two got off to a favorable start the Cowboys as they cashed in for three runs on three walks and two hits. Left fielder Garrett McCain, the Big 12's leading hitter, drove in the first run of the nightcap with a triple to left-center after a leadoff-walk started the game. First baseman Dustin Williams added two with a two-out single to chase OU sophomore right-hander Kyle Tyler (Oklahoma City).
Tyler (0-2) was relieved by junior RHP Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.), who went 3.2 innings. He struck out five and gave up one run on five hits and one walk.
Right-hander Joe Lienhard (3-2) sailed for Oklahoma State with a seven-inning win. He worked out of two on, nobody out situations on several occasions early with a pair of groundball double plays and key strikeouts. Lienhard retired nine in a row in the middle of the game after Walker doubled and scored OU's first run on a single by senior first baseman Austin O'Brien (Owasso, Okla.).
“They got momentum over there, they're going to take advantage of it and they did a good job of that,” Hughes said of OSU. “Lienhard pitched very well and pitched out of tough situations. We had our opportunities; we had guys on base and he pitched out of trouble early on and then that furthered the momentum that you get from the defensive end, so that definitely was the story of the game; momentum and they kept getting their guys out there.”
The Big 12 Championship gets underway Wednesday in Oklahoma City.