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OU Baseball Drops Series To Texas… Sort Of

By: Dave Myrick

Before we get started on the in game analysis, we must first point out a rule that I cannot stand. And that has to do with baseball games getting called short of nine innings because of weather, counting as complete contests. I know, that both teams sign up for this, and understand it headed into games. That said, if you do not play nine innings, in my opinion, you did not play a full game. Be that as it may, that is what they deemed happened on Sunday, and the game ended after the seventh inning due to lightning.

Game 1

The Oklahoma baseball team came back to earth this weekend. After winning nine games in a row, Oklahoma hosted The Texas Longhorns at The Dale to start a 3-game set Friday night. Friday, went like all the previous days OU had played baseball, and ended with a win. Braden Davis was outstanding, going six full, allowing one earned run on seven hits and striking out eleven to move to 5-3 on the season. Kendall Pettis got things going in the first with an RBI single scoring Anthony Mackenzie. Scott Mudler then reached on an error, allowing Jackson Nicklaus to score making it 2-0 Oklahoma. John Spikerman scored Kendall Pettis with an RBI ground-out and it was 3-0 Oklahoma after two. In the third, once again it was Kendall Pettis singling through the middle to plate Easton Carmichael and push the OU lead to 4-0. Texas would respond in the fifth with an RBI single that OU got back immediately in the bottom of the frame in the form of a Jaxon Willits solo home run and OU led 5-1 after six innings.

In the seventh, Texas once again inched closer on an RBI single by Peyton Powell, and once again Oklahoma answered getting the run right back on an Anthony Mackenzie solo shot to right. In the seventh Oklahoma started to open things up on a Jaxon Willits RBI and a John Spikerman fielders choice gave OU an 8-2 lead headed to the eighth. A Jared Thomas home-run in the top of the eighth scored two horns, cutting the deficit to four, but OU put the nail in the coffin on a double-steal and Mike Snyder scampered home to make it 9-4. Malachi Witherspoon would take on the closers role, and look damn good doing so. He would pitch the final frame, striking out the side to give OU a game one series win.

Game 2

Saturday saw… nothing. As the forecast called for gnarly weather in Norman at game-time. The forecast, was wrong as it would have been windy and cloudy, but nothing threatened the metro until well after ten o’clock. Be that as it may, the powers that be decided on a double-header Sunday. Kyson Witherspoon took his usual Saturday start. And as usual had disgusting stuff, but struggled to work from ahead in counts, and his pitch count was nearly 60 pitches after two-innings. For a team with bullpen questions, that usually does not bode well. Also of note, Jackson Nicklaus was held out of game one because… well, I don’t know why, but true freshman Isiah Lane took his spot at second base.

Texas jumped out to the lead in game two thanks to a Jalin Flores double that plated Jared Thomas. Oklahoma, like they have done in every game of recent memory, answered immediately on an Easton Carmichael single. Another double steal saw Easton Carmichael cross home-plate to give OU the lead 2-1 headed to the second. Unlike the previous game, OU could not take advantage of opportunities after a shut-out inning as the game remained tied until the second when Texas would put three runs up and take a 4-2 lead. Once again OU answered in a blink as Anthony Mackenzie smacked a two-out double to score Easton Carmichael and Bryce Madron and knot the game at four a piece after three. In the sixth things started to come apart a bit for Oklahoma as Texas would plate three more to give the Horns a 7-5 lead.

Kyson Witherspoon exited after five and a third innings, allowing five earned-runs on five hits, striking out six and walking two. Carter Campbell would come in and get lit up to the tune of one third an inning, one hit that scored two on a home-run. Dylan Crooks looked very good once again, throwing three innings of one-run ball. A Flores double in the top of the eighth made it 8-5 Horns, and proved to be too much. Oklahoma would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth as an Easton Carmichael single would score John Spikerman, but that is where the game would end as Texas took game two 8-6.

Game 3

lol I have trouble calling it a game. Sorrynotsorry. Grant Stevens would take his usual, of late, Sunday start and things did not go well. Texas for the second time in as many games jumped out to an early lead scoring two in the top of the first inning. OU answered with one in the bottom of the frame as Easton Carmichael, who is scorching hot, would double in John Spikerman. In the second and third innings the two offenses would trade blows. Texas would jump out to a 4-1 lead in the second, and off to a 6-1 lead in the third. Oklahoma would swing b ack on a Jackson Nicklaus triple, a Kendall Pettis single, and a two-run Jaxon Willits home-run making it a 6-5 game through four. On topic, Jaxon Willits, my Lord this kid is special. Willits has hit eight home runs in the past eight games… That aside, Texas once again put distance between themselves and the Sooners in the sixth. The long ball was a big story in game 3, and Texas would use it in the sixth, along with a Flores double to give the Horns an 11-7 lead to in the top of the sixth. Oklahoma would answer with one in the bottom of the frame, but Texas once again using a Max Belyeu home-run would push the lead right back to 12-8.

This is where things would get freaky. Lets get freaky.

Jason Walk would hit an RBI sac-fly to plate Kendall Pettis and John Spikerman would single in Jaxon Willits to make it 12-10, then someone said they saw lightning in Kansas and the game was delayed. Now, depending on who you talk to, you hear different things on what happened, who wanted this, who wanted that… the two teams would sit around over an hour waiting to see if they could play. Now, apparently one team was REALLY jazzed to get outta dodge and have the game cancelled. In a way, you understand it. It sucks to have travel delayed. Now, on the other side, there was a genuine feel of those present, that things may happen in OU’s favor, momentum, etc. Cannot say one way or the other, but as a fan of the game, and wanting some clarity in the Big 12 in terms of baseball, I thought it sucked. Be that as it may, the game was called after seven, claiming Texas won the game 12-10, giving the Horns a series win, in Norman. Grant Stevens took the loss, moving to 5-2 on the season. Stevens would only last two and a third innings, allow seven hits, six earned runs and only striking out one. Brendan Girton would also come in and throw two and a third, allowing four hits, five runs (4 earned), striking out two and walking none. Ryan Lambert threw one and a third, allowing three hits, one earned run and one strike out.


Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson during warm-ups before an NCAA regional championship baseball game against Liberty on Friday, June 3, 2022 in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

This weekend saw some things return that disappeared during the nine game win streak. Starters going well into the fifth or sixth is paramount for this team as the bullpen is a question mark. It will continue to be a question mark, as the guys we have seen come out, repeatedly have an issue pitching a clean inning. During the win streak, and for that matter when Oklahoma has won this season, usually the offense has done enough, clean innings weren’t and aren’t really needed. I remained curious what would happen if they HAD to have one. Close game late, can the pen keep it stable ? The answer as of now, is no. At least not yet. Guys like Ryan Lambert, Carter Campbell, Carson Atwood have flashed really good, and really bad. Malachi Witherspoon has looked good in spurts, Dylan Crooks has drawn my gaze along with my partner in crime, Randall J. Heitz, as someone who may need some more run down the stretch.

Now OU heads to Lubbock to take on a Texas Tech squad that has been bi-polar this season. I don’t know what to say about the Red Raiders other than the fact I have no idea what you’re going to see. I do know winning at Dan Law is hard. And they can pound home-runs. Once again, Oklahoma needs more from their starters. Guys like Kyson Witherspoon, has to be better. And he has been outstanding, but they need him to take them deeper into game two’s. You figure Braden Davis always will give Oklahoma a really good shot to get out to a 1-0 series lead, so Kyson’s role is that much more amplified since as of right now, the Sunday starter (game 3) is kind of back up in the air. If pitching and defense is there, the offense is there, and isn’t going anywhere, so a series win in Lubbock things start to look pretty good as far as possible Big 12 champions. Oklahoma had wiggle room due to four conference sweeps but winning this series is important in finishing top two regular season in league standings as the goal is to gain a first round Big 12 tournament bye.

Oklahoma returns to action at Texas Tech, Friday May 3rd 6:30 CST