OKLAHOMA CITY – It was a tale of the fourth inning as the Oklahoma Sooners’ time in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament came to an end on Thursday afternoon with a 15-3 loss to TCU.
The Sooners, who had lost to No. 2 seed Baylor at 8-2 the day before, came into Thursday’s matchup fighting for survival with hopes of keeping their time in Bricktown alive, and for three innings, it looked as if they might see more time and a longer season. TCU, however, had other plans.
Junior RHP Nathan Wiles took the mound for the Sooners to start the game with a record of 8-3 and a 3.67 ERA where he held the Horned Frogs scoreless for three innings picking up five strikeouts.
The Sooners were first on the board in T2 after two consecutive singles from Tyler Hardman and Brady Harlan set up Conor McKenna to knock a sac fly up allowing Hardman to find home plate.
Sooners lead 1-0.
Things were looking up for the Sooners as Wiles kept the Frogs off the board in the third, but the fourth inning was the story of the game as TCU ignited an explosive effort, which would in time win them the ballgame.
“It was the 0-2 pitch he [Wiles] threw to [Josh] Watson,” Sooners Head Coach Skip Johnson said postgame when asked where things went wrong. “He popped it up to left field, and that’s really where it spun out of control. If you can’t reset and get to the next pitch, which he’s been really good at, you’ll struggle.”
And struggle the Sooners did as the Horned Frogs forced Wiles to give up eight hits and nine runs, forced a pitching change for the Sooners where they brought out sophomore LHP Levi Prater, and racked in three hits and five more runs from Prater.
TCU leads 14-1
“We hit a little bit of a rough spot the past couple of games,” TCU 1st baseman Conner Shepherd said postgame. “We were due. It was a lot of fun to be able to get some hits like that and stack them together.”
The Sooners would go on to have three more pitching changes with hopes of having a comeback to keep their chances at the Big 12 Tournament Championship alive, but a strong offensive effort from the Horned Frogs in one inning is all it took.
The Sooner were able to pick up two more runs in the seventh inning, which would serve as the final inning of the game, but with an out at 1st base, and the bases loaded, the Horned Frogs took the win and made tournament history earning 14 runs in one inning, which was previously recorded in 2009 when 11 runs were recorded during Texas vs. Missouri.
“These are guys I’ll call brothers for the rest of my life,” OU 3rd baseman Brylie Ware said postgame. “That’s one thing I know I can take away. We still have a decent shot of getting into a regional, so we have to go out and hopefully continue to play.”
The TCU Horned Frogs will play on Friday night at 7 p.m. and face the loser of the Oklahoma State vs. Baylor game being played on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
The Oklahoma Sooners are eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament Championship