Well, the No. 8 Sooners defined themselves pretty well in their 7-5 victory over No. 18 Oklahoma State to even what’s already an exciting Bedlam series.
“It was a long ride back to the city last night from Tulsa,” said junior shortstop Caleb Bushyhead. “But – I mean – we tried to keep our heads up and not be sad but more be focused on what we had to come back and do tonight.
“I think we did a really good job of that.”
Although OU (26-9, 7-6 Big 12) got production from almost everybody in the lineup – seven starters had at least one hit – head coach Sunny Golloway couldn’t be more pleased with what he got from his catcher and pitching staff.
Junior catcher Tyler Ogle belted two solo homers, prevented multiple runs from scoring on pitches in the dirt and made a catch that would make Sportcenter’s Top-10 plays if the show got a hold of the video.
And all of this came after a four-hit performance in the series opener and not having an RBI in Bedlam coming into the weekend.
“The past two years I hadn’t been very successful against this team,” said Ogle, who went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and is tied for the team lead in homers with seven. “This year I think I’m seeing the ball a little better and capitalizing when I get that pitch.”
But if his night at the plate wasn’t good enough, Ogle added another circus catch to his list of achievements.
Ogle chased after a foul ball toward Oklahoma State’s dugout with two outs in the fourth inning and camped under it when his feet went out under him as the ball descended out of the night sky. But, falling didn’t faze him as he reached out while on his back and caught the ball to end the inning.
“He looked like Geena Davis [from “A League of Their Own] on that foul ball,” said Cowboys head coach Frank Anderson.
But Ogle and the offense that pounded out 10 hits in the victory didn’t win this game all on their own.
Junior pitcher Burch Smith, redshirt freshman Jordan John and senior closer Ryan Duke shut Oklahoma State down despite making the game interesting in the later innings.
Smith allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits in 5 2/3 innings while throwing a career-high 111 pitches to earn his sixth victory in the Crimson and Cream.
The victory was his third in a row and third in conference play, but the Bedlam experience may have made the victory even more impressive for the junior college transfer.
“It was awesome,” Smith said of his first Bedlam start. “I couldn’t have thought it up in my head any better than that. There’s so much history behind this series and all of the hype. It was just great.”
Smith exited the game with two outs in the sixth inning, and John had a little trouble cleaning up the mess before throwing back-to-back perfect innings in the seventh and eighth.
Duke earned his fourth save of the season by striking out three of the five batters he faced in the ninth. The two batters he didn’t retire reached base on a ground-rule double with one away and on an error with two outs that would have ended the game.
Duke still boasts a perfect 0.00 ERA.
The rubber match is slated for 4:05 p.m. Sunday at RedHawks Field at Bricktown. Freshman pitcher Dillon Overton will be on the mound for the Sooners as he’s making his third start in conference play.