Sooners Avoid Bedlam Baseball Sweep
For two days in the Bedlam Series, all the breaks went Cowboys' way. Sunday, it was the Sooners' turn.
No. 13 Oklahoma (35-16, 12-9 Big 12) rallied for a 5-4 win over No. 19 Oklahoma State (36-13, 11-9) to avoid a series sweep Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Oklahoma State jumped to a 4-0 lead after scoring two runs in each the second and third innings, but didn't get late calls while Oklahoma put away the game behind the strength of its Bedlam newcomers.
OU freshman designated hitter Kolbey Carpenter was 3-for-4 at the plate with RBIs in the third and sixth inning, with the latter tying the game 4-4.
"Kolbey's so calm about the game as a true freshman," OU head coach Sunny Golloway said. "You realize we played six freshmen in a Bedlam game when we were down 0-2. It speaks volumes for the character of our freshmen and our mental toughness and preparation."
Freshman Ralph Garza, Jr. (4-0) earned the victory in relief and freshman closer Jacob Evans literally saved the game, making plays on the mound and the plate to keep Oklahoma's lead.
Oklahoma State was caught out on two close plays while trying to add runs.
In the fifth inning, Zach Fish attempted to score from second base on Gage Green's single to right field, but Max White targeted Anthony Hermelyn for an out at the plate.
In the eighth, Aaron Cornell reached on a base hit to right field and advanced the next at-bat on a groundout. Cornell attempted to steal third and turned for home when Evans threw a wild pitch. Hermelyn recovered the ball from the backstop and tossed to Evans for the tag.
"Kind of a little déjà vu of yesterday," Evans said in reference to OSU stealing home in Saturday's game, "but Hermelyn got the ball right to me and he slid right into me."
Both calls were argued by OSU head coach Josh Holliday, who was ejected by home plate umpire Randy Wetzel following the Evans put out of Cornell.
While the opportunities disappeared for OSU, the Sooners took advantage of Cowboy miscues.
Aikin led off the fourth with a base on balls. White doubled down the left field line and then Aikin scored after OSU starter Mark Robinette threw a wild pitch to Hector Lorenzana.
Lorenzana later doubled to plate White and then scored from a Carpenter single.
"I think some (of the breaks) have started to go our way," Golloway said. "They hit some line drives right at us, no doubt about it. But, we got some breaks our way."
Matt Oberste reached first on a wide throw by shortstop Craig McConaughy and Lorenzana walked to begin the bottom of the sixth. Oberste scored after Carpenter's line drive grazed off OSU second baseman Donnie Walton's glove and rolled into right field.
"I kind of fell out of the groove when I first came back," Carpenter said, "but I'm starting to see the ball a little better now. I just went up there and tried to put good swings on balls. I'm feeling pretty good at the plate so, hopefully, I can keep it up."
Lorenzana scored to go-ahead run when Garrett Carey hit into a double play.
Dillon Overton returned to the mound after missing two scheduled starts due to a forearm strain. Overton struck out his first two batters and retired the third on a fly out in the first, but had to pitch to 17 batters over the next three innings.
"I was talking to Dillon on the way up," Golloway said, "getting his pitch count up was important. He was doing a really poor job of allowing us let him throw 82 pitches by letting them score runs. But he was battling his tail off, just wasn't working out."
The victory puts Oklahoma back into second place in the Big 12 standings trailing leader Kansas State by two games, meaning the Sooners would need to sweep the Wildcats in order to capture the conference championship.
"We've got a motto about being mentally tough. I believe that's what wins in college baseball. We've won 40 games for four straight years. There are only seven teams in America that have done that.
"It may not win today, but it's going to win over the long haul."