BLACKSBURG, Va. -- It took 12 innings for the Oklahoma Sooners and Connecticut Huskies to finish a game decided by inches.
OU senior Max White's line drive lipped off the top of UConn centerfielder Billy Ferriter's glove for an RBI triple, scoring Craig Aikin for the game-winning run in a 5-3 extra-innings victory Saturday at English Field.
"I am really proud of how my guys stuck in there and came out at the end," OU head coach Sunny Golloway said. "The last thing is that I always tell our guys to do something that will inspire each other and we left a lot of runners on like I said and you can always tell when the momentum was trying to swing both ways."
Oklahoma (42-19) stayed on the winner's side of the NCAA Blacksburg Regional bracket and needs just one win to advance to a second straight and third Super Regional appearance in the last four seasons.
Host and top seed Virginia Tech, which eliminated Coastal Carolina with a 9-1 win Saturday, and No. 4 seed Connecticut will play Sunday at 12 p.m. Central to determine the opponent in the double-elimination field. OU will face the winner at 4:30 p.m. If necessary, a final game will be played Monday.
After falling behind 3-0 to Coastal Carolina in Friday's regional opener, Oklahoma turned the tables on Connecticut by scoring three runs in the top of the first and cruised through the early innings.
The first six Sooner batters reached base against UConn starter Jordan Tabakman. Hector Lorenzana singled to right field to score Jack Mayfield and Anthony Hermelyn followed with a two-RBI single to the same side to put Oklahoma on top in its first time through the order.
Dillon Overton gave up his first first-inning earned run of the season, but retired 15 of the next 16 until struggling in the sixth.
Leadoff hitter Tom Verdi singled to begin the bottom of the sixth inning and advanced to third with help from a sacrifice bunt and fly out before Vinny Siena batted in the Huskies' second run. Overton gave up another base hit and a five-pitch walk before Ralph Garza came on in relief with the bases loaded. Garza forced Jon Testani to pop-up behind home plate to get out of the jam.
It was Garza's eighth consecutive relief appearance without allowing an inherited runner to score.
In the eighth, the Huskies evened the score after making the Sooners pay for a defensive miscue.
Mayfield threw a Ferriter grounder wide at first to put a runner in scoring position. After Siena walked, the two advanced bases on a wild pitch. Bobby Melley then grounded out to second, allowing Ferriter to tie the game 3-3.
Tabakman pitched nine innings, retiring Sooners in order five times after the three-run first inning.
Oklahoma threatened in the 10th and 11th innings, but the Huskies deflated the Sooners' momentum-building.
Mazzilli made a leaping stab at Matt Oberste's line drive in the top of the 10th, flipping what would have been a runners-on-the-corners situation into an inning-ending grab.
OU loaded the bases with one out in the 11th before Pat Butler (3-2) entered in relief of David Mahoney and pitched Garrett Carey into a double play.
But the Sooners, now 8-1 in extra-inning games, charged their own defensive highlights, turning the energy of the game.
Mayfield slid to backhand Verdi's sneaking grounder through the left side to stifle UConn's chance to advance Eric Yavarone past scoring position in the bottom of the 11th.
"The play that Jack Mayfield made in the 10th inning," Golloway said, "sliding and throwing the would be guy out on first base was a tremendous play. I have seen a lot of plays at shortstop in this uniform and that ranks right there if not the best one of the best I have ever seen especially with all that was on the line."
From there, Aikin led off the 12th with a blooper to left and advanced to second on Mayfield's sacrifice bunt poked down the first-base line. Aikin reached third on a wild pitch by Butler and three pitches later, White put the Sooners ahead after 10 scoreless innings.
"It was a huge relief," White said. "Especially since I was struggling there early. I had the chances to really breakout the game after we went up 3-0 but he left a hanger. I think it was a slider up and he tried to beat me and threw it too hard so I saw it up and I put a good swing on it with some backspin and it carried over."
The Huskies collapsed after the play. Oberste was issued an intentional walk but then second baseman LJ Mazzilli missed tagging out Oberste as he ran on Lorenzana grounder in the next at-bat, and then Mazilli erred his throw to first, allowing White to score on what could have been a double play to end the inning.