The Sooners (35-13, 12-10 Big 12) won the first game 7-6 by rallying from a four-run deficit, lost the second game in a 4-3 heart breaker and won the finale 6-0 while getting an unexpected gem out of a freshman making his first start on the mound.
The weekend series started in Tulsa at OneOK Field, the Tulsa Drillers’ new stadium, and OU tried to christen the new stadium in the same way it closed out the old one, with a Bedlam win.
But the first four innings didn’t foreshadow the desired result. Junior pitcher Zach Neal, who was playing in his first Bedlam game, allowed one run in each of the first four innings to put the Sooners is a 4-0 hole.
Three of the four runs came on two-out singles, and the other run came on the first pitch of the second inning on a solo home run.
Coming into the series, the Sooners were 18-9 in games when their opponent scored first, so the deficit was nothing to worry about, especially when they’re a team that uses the long ball to put up a lot of runs quickly.
Freshman left fielder Max White started the home run parade with a solo shot in the fourth inning, and sophomore first baseman Cameron Seitzer put the Sooners on top 5-4 with a two-run homer in the fifth. Seitzer’s homer was one of three in the fifth inning, and sophomore third baseman Garrett Buechele hit the team’s fifth homer of the game with a two-run shot of his own in the seventh to extend the lead to 7-4.
The Cowboys (27-20, 8-13 Big 12) scored two runs in the eighth inning before junior pitcher Ryan Duke was called upon to close out the game. He needed to face just four batters to record the save, his 11th of the season and 27th of his career, to put him one save away from tying OU’s career saves record.
The Sooners came into Oklahoma City with a lot of confidence and a three-game winning streak, but the combination of a bad inning by junior pitcher Bobby Shore and Oklahoma State junior pitcher Brad Propst being virtually unhittable didn’t bode well for OU.
Shore failed to make it out of the second inning for the second straight week. He threw two easy, quick innings, but he fell apart in the third.
Shore allowed four runs in the inning and could only record two outs before head coach Sunny Golloway turned to junior pitcher Jeremy Erben. Erben didn’t allow a run in the last 6 1/3 innings Saturday, but his efforts were too little too late.
Propst went 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on an RBI-single by sophomore shortstop Caleb Bushyhead. But turning the ball over to the bullpen didn’t ease Propst’s nerves as all he could do was watch from the dugout as the Sooners scored two runs to pull within one run with one out and two runners in scoring position in the ninth inning.
Cowboys freshman pitcher Andrew Heaney ended the rally by striking out sophomore center fielder Chris Ellison and Bushyhead to even the series at one game apiece.
Even though Sunday’s finale didn’t provide the same drama that the first two games did, it did give us something that any fan of pitching would have loved.
Freshman pitcher Jack Mayfield, who was making his first career start, threw a complete game shutout for OU to secure its second straight Bedlam series victory.
Mayfield gave up five hits, including one that was lined off his left thigh in the fourth inning, and struck out seven batters. Oklahoma State didn’t have a runner reach third base until the eighth inning, but Mayfield struck out a batter with a 3-2 breaking ball to end the threat.
A runner did reach base in the ninth inning, but he was erased when a ground ball to Mayfield resulted in a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
The series victory didn’t move the Sooners up in the Big 12 standings, but the Cowboys’ sole victory did move them up from eighth to seventh with two conference series remaining.
OU has the week off, but returns to action Friday to take on Memphis for a three-game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park to start a four-game home stand. The home stand will be the final games at home for the Sooners during the regular season.