Duke Blows Lead, OU Loses Series on Walk-Off

OU closer Ryan Duke did not have his best stuff.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Bedlam baseball was not for the faint of heart this weekend.

Game one featured a walk-off homer.

Game two was a close affair that had the tying run stranded on base in the ninth.

And game three went into extras after high-octane theatrics in the late innings.

Any series that plays out like that would be a memorable one and everyone involved would be happy with what they witness.

Except for the losing team, which was the No. 8 Sooners after falling to the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys 11-10 in 10 innings Sunday night at RedHawks Field in Bricktown.

The Cowboys (27-9, 10-5 Big 12) got a walk-off single to center from senior second baseman Davis Duren to bring across the winning run after he and his teammates fought back from a four-run deficit to take the lead into the ninth that they would eventually give up.

The Sooners (26-10, 7-7 Big 12) turned the ball over to senior closer Ryan Duke with one out in the eighth inning of a 7-3 game after senior pitcher Bobby Shore threw 3 1/3 solid innings of relief work.

Then all hell broke loose.

After allowing a single and getting a pop out, Duke gave up another single to load the bases, walked two batters to dwindle OU's lead to one and then allowed a two-run single to give the Cowboys the 8-7 lead.

Duke was pulled after that, but the toughest thing for the reliever in that inning was that he entered the inning without having allowed a run all season.

"Ryan Duke has been outstanding finishing games," head coach Golloway said. "Even those things are going to happen. So you just pat your guy on the back and say ‘Hey, the numbers were against you. The odds were against you. It's going to happen.'

"It happened at a bad time. It was Bedlam."

Redshirt junior Jordan John was called upon to stop the bleeding, but an error that would have ended the inning and a single put the Cowboys up 10-7 going into the ninth where they went to their closer, junior Chris Marlowe, to close out the game.

But like Duke, Marlowe just couldn't find the strike zone despite pumping in fastballs in the mid-90s and sliders in the mid-80s.

He walked four batters and allowed a bases-loaded, two-out single to junior catcher Tyler Ogle, who went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs, to give the Sooners life and a one-run deficit before reloading the bases for junior first baseman Cameron Seitzer.

The lanky lefty from Overland Park, Kan., didn't have to move, let alone take the bat off his shoulder, to be productive. Marlowe hit Seitzer on the right leg with a slider on the first pitch of the at-bat to tie the game.

The RBI was Seitzer's second of the game. He had three hits in five at-bats.

John and senior pitcher Tyson Seng combined to throw a scoreless bottom of the ninth despite allowing a leadoff double, but the offense couldn't produce in the top half of the 10th.

OU did come close to taking the lead in extras on a ball off senior right fielder Ricky Eisenberg's bat, but the ball hooked foul by about five feet and turned a could-be homer into a long strike.

"There was definitely an emotional swing back and forth," Golloway said. "But that's just because both teams are fighting. Nobody wants to make the last out."

But, as both coaches put it after the drama-filled game, that's baseball.

Both teams had their chances to win the game in extra innings, but poor work by their closers and leaving a combined 29 runners on base. The Cowboys stranded 12 runners and the Sooners left on 17.

"We left too many on to really pull away – I think – and make it comfortable," Golloway said. "But that's baseball. You're just one hit, one catch away from going away."

Not only did the loss mark another lost Big 12 series for OU – it has a 1-3-1 series record in conference play – it may have killed its chances of hosting a regional round and a shot at a Big 12 regular-season title.

The Sooners are 10-10 since starting the season 16-0, and many of their losses have been against teams that they were predicted to beat.

Although there's a lot of ball left to play, earning a regional host is something that might just be out of reach for the team that was predicted to be in Omaha this summer.

"We've got a lot of fight in us," Golloway said. "I know the character of this club, and it's a long way from being over for us."

One way the Sooners will try to get over this tough loss will be through prayer to play the Cowboys again in the conference tournament, Golloway said.

"We'll say a prayer, and hopefully God's going to let us play them in the Big 12 tournament," he said. "We're 2-2 this year, and that would be great for Bedlam baseball."

Another way OU will try to recover from this loss will be with two midweek games at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The Sooners will play Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Bacone College at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

They're playing Bacone College as a make-up game because the Arkansas game was rained out March 29.

"We won't look to our Big 12 weekend until we get through our midweek games," Golloway said. "Then we'll go fight hard in the Big 12 play on the weekend."

No starters have been announced for those midweek games yet.

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