the franchise 107.7
Franchise 2 logo

OU Baseball: Oklahoma State, TCU Recap

BY: Dave Myrick

The OU baseball team has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season. After walking off Nebraska to complete a 2-1 opening weekend in Arlington, including a win over a top 5 Tennessee team, they would then go on to have a 3-4 record the next seven games. Including some flat out beatdowns, and blown late leads.

The trend somewhat continued this week, as Oklahoma rolled into the first Bedlam installment of 24′ riding a four game win streak, including a sweep of red hot UCF. Senior Will Carsten would get the start, this one was over before people could get that hot dog mustarded up and beverage in the cup-holders. Carsten would only record one out, and give up 5 hits, 6 earned runs, and 7 in total… in the top half of the first inning before being relieved by Senior Carter Campbell.

Oklahoma would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the first when Michael Snyder laced a two-run single. But the rally would be short lived as Oklahoma was unable to bring anyone else across with two on, and no outs. It was that kind of night for OU baseball, as they would commit four errors, and allow 14 runs to cross home plate. Losing to the Cowboys in embarrassing fashion in front of the 3rd largest crowd to see a game at L. Dale Mitchell Park 14-5.

Oklahoma head baseball coach Skip Johnson (AP Photo/Matt Gentry)

Oklahoma and Head Coach Skip Johnson didn’t have much time to pine over the whipping to their in-state rival, and that was probably a good thing. As OU would face UT-Arlington the very next day on the road in the Metroplex. UT-Arlington isn’t exactly LSU, but small schools in Texas can usually all play baseball. OU got what they’d not gotten the night before, solid pitching out of the gate, and timely hitting to piece together a 5-1 win. Carson Atwood, Grant Stevens (would get the win, his 3rd of the year), Ryan Lambert and Reid Hensley combined for nine innings of one run ball. Hanging onto a 2-run lead in the 9th, Anthony Mackenzie flared one to right with two on and two outs that was misplayed by the Mavericks outfielder and allowed the insurance runs to score, all but ending that one as OU rebounded quickly from the night before.

Friday night was an altogether different animal as OU made the bus-ride across 30E to Fort Worth to take on a pissed off Horned Frog team who had just dropped a series to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, encountering their first two losses of the season along the way (14-2). Braden David would get his usual Friday night nod as the OU starter, and he would face TCU monster by way of transfer and Wichita State, Peyton Tolle. Tolle, a two-way player hit 16 home runs for the Shockers last year, and oh by the way has a 95 MPH fastball, as a lefty on the mound. Standing at 6’6 240 pounds, imposing does not quite do him justice.

The game would get out to a 0-0 start in the second, when TCU struck first. A Ryder Robinson SAC fly scored Anthony Silva and it was 1-0 Frogs. A scoreless third saw OU lead off the top half of the fourth. After a Carmichael single, OU third basemen Michael Snyder sent one over the wall in right as an oppo shot, making it 2-1 Oklahoma. TCU would answer immediately in the bottom of the fifth, as Logan Maxwell extended his hit streak to twenty-nine thousand (18 games, every game this year), knocking in two and giving the Frogs a lead of 3-2 in the fifth.

Oklahoma did what they did all weekend to answer, and that is answer. Every time the TCU crowd had something to get excited about, OU snatched momentum right back. That’s exactly what they would do in the seventh when John Spikerman knocked in Kendall Pettis to tie the game at 3-3. Bryce Madron would rope a single back up the middle plating Carter Frederick, and Easton Carmichael would single in John Spikerman to give OU a 6-3 lead headed to the eighth.

TCU would threaten in the bottom half of the eighth, but Kyson Witherspoon, who relieved Davis in the fifth (4.0, 3 ER on 3 hits), was outstanding. Going 5.0 innings straight, throwing 94 pitches, striking out 8, and allowing 0 ER, and had an answer anytime TCU flirted with getting anything going. Which usually entailed freezing a Frog at the dish on a wicked strike three. OU would tack on one more insurance run on a SAC fly by Carter Frederick, plating Jackson Nicklaus to make it a 7-3 game in the ninth. That would be more than enough for Witherspoon, as he slammed the door shut to give OU a 1-0 series lead headed to the hotel Friday night.

Saturday, a rainy day in the Metroplex saw the game time pushed back twice. Finally at 5:30 PM the tarps came off the field at Lupton, and the first pitch was thrown roughly at 7:05 PM.

Oklahoma flame-thrower Brendan Girton got his usual Saturday start and was wildly effective… or effectively wild. Going 4.0 innings, allowing only 2 ER, hit 3 Frogs, threw 3 wild pitches, and I believe hit the Durham Bull once. All that said, Girton gave up only one hit. He would exit and hand things over to Senior Carter Campbell, who for the third straight appearance was outstanding in relief. Campbell would go three innings, allowing 1 ER, scattering 2 hits and striking out 5.

By the fourth inning it was 2-0 Frogs largely based on walks and wild pitches by the OU staff, but the OU offense finally got through to TCU starter Kole Klecker in the top half of the fifth. An error allowed the flood gates to open as Jaxon Willits would reach base, scoring Kendall Pettis. The big bomb came next when Bryce Madron turned on a 0-0 hanging curveball after an OU offensive timeout, and sent it halfway to Baton Rouge to give OU a 4-2 lead. Oklahoma would add another in the eighth with a SAC fly by catcher Scott Mudler. Malachi Witherspoon was brought on to pitch to start the eighth inning (4 hits, 2 ER, 1 strikeout) and allowed TCU to scratch a few runs across tying the game at 5-5 headed to the ninth.

With the TCU crowd as rowdy as they had been all series long, and a genuine feeling Oklahoma was probably in trouble after blowing a lead in the eighth, a pinch-hitter was called upon to lead off for OU top nine. Carter Frederick watched and a couple of pitches, then calmly Paul Bunyan’d one over the deepest part of Lupton Field, right into the heart of the Frog faithful, giving OU the lead right back at 6-5. Jackson Nicklaus would hit a Q shot off the end of the bat to third, plating one more and Malachi Witherspoon slammed the door shut in the bottom of the frame to give Oklahoma a series win at 2-0. Also giving Coach Skip Johnson his 200th career win at Oklahoma.

Sunday, with the series clinched for Oklahoma, the fans at Lupton saw their Frogs take the field hoping to salvage one. This hope would be in vein.

Oklahoma took the field without Junior stud CF John Spikerman, who had exited Saturday’s game with an apparent hand injury. At the writing of this article there is no update on that injury.

Jamie Hitt toed the rubber as he normally does on Sunday finales. He would go 5.2, allowing 7 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 1 walk and throw 92 pitches. Hitt was REALLY good through 4.0 innings. Things got off the rails a bit late and Dylan Crooks would come in to record the last out of the sixth. Carson Atwood and Ryan Lambert would finish off the rest going 3.0 combined, no runs on 2 hits, allowing Hitt to pick up a well deserved win, his second of the season. Game 3 wasn’t quite as dramatic as the previous two as OU jumped out early to a 2-0 lead on an RBI groundout and a wild pitch. Through the fifth would see more of the same as Carter Frederick would bang in Jackson Nicklaus with an RBI single in the top half of the fourth, Kendall Pettis would knock in Jason Walk to make it 5-0, and that man again, Michael Snyder would smack another over the wall to give OU an even 6-0 lead headed to the home half of the fifth.

TCU would try to get something going on a Chase Byrne and Karson Bowen home-runs in consecutive innings that trimmed OU’s lead to 6-4. That score would remain in-tact until the top half of the ninth. After Kendall Pettis and Bryce Madron reached, TCU’s nightmare man was up again, Michael Snyder. And would once again go Freddy Kruger on them smashing a single up the middle knocking in two insurance runs making it an 8-4 OU lead. Easton Carmichael would score on a passed ball making it 9-4, and effectively ending any shot TCU would salvage anything.

Three outs later the game ended 9-4, an OU win, completing what had looked improbable a few days earlier; a sweep of TCU in Forth Worth.

Oklahoma *appears to be red-hot right now. I put an asterisk next to appears because we have seen this before. Does Oklahoma jump off the roller-coaster ? Do they string together good weeks and wins ? That is what I really want to see. I spoke with ESPN’s and D1 Baseball’s Mike Rooney after the series sweep Sunday night. Nationally, that is what people want to see. Consistency.

However, keep winning weekends and it does not really matter. They will have a shot to do both as mid-week annual nightmare DBU comes calling tonight at 6:30 at L. Dale. Then a WVU team that is always gamey visits Norman for a three game set this weekend.

Up next: OU hosts Dallas Baptist Tuesday, March 19th at 6:30 PM CST