the franchise 107.7
Franchise 2 logo

OU Baseball Sweeps Four Game Home-Stand

By: Dave Myrick

OU baseball limped out of the desert a week ago on the heels of a blowout loss, a blown ninth-inning lead loss, and ended up dropping two in the Vegas Classic to Pitt and Ohio State, compiling an 0-3 record in their past three contests. So a home stand was a welcomed sight.

Tuesday, OU opened things back up in Norman against Wichita State. The Shockers, sitting on a 7-3 record when they entered the contest had a few impressive wins this season, including a 12-6 win over #18 Iowa. And are always a gamey squad.

Will Carsten took the bump for OU, going 3.0 innings, allowing 1 hit, with 1 strikeout, and no runs. i.e., was fantastic. Offensively things took awhile for OU to get going, but Easton Carmichael lifted a SAC fly with 2 away in the 3rd that plated Carter Frederick for OU to take a 1-0 lead. A groundout RBI by Rocco Garza Gongora, and a Carmichael single in consecutive innings made the Sooner lead 3-0 entering the 5th.

Michael Snyder would draw a bases loaded walk in the bottom half of the 5th to make it 4-0 OU. WSU would respond in the top half of the 6th, cutting the Sooner lead in half with a 2-run shot by clean-up Derek Williams. An Easton Carmichael HR in the 7th pushed OU’s lead to 5-2, where it would remain until the 9th.

Malachi Witherspoon was brought into the game in a position to pick up OU’s first save of the season. After retiring one shocker, he put a 3-0 fastball over the middle of the plate and it was hit to Arkansas by PH Josh Livingston, making the game 5-3. Unlike out west, and for that matter last season, things did not get off the rails facing adversity in the 9th. As Witherspoon would calmly strike the next shocker out in 4 pitches, and induce a ground ball to end the game. Potentially a good sign moving forward in terms of closing out games as OU would win 5-3.

Things did not look to get any easier as a Central Florida squad rolling into the plains as OU’s next opponent had raced out to a 9-1 record themselves, with wins over Miami in Coral Gables, and the #4 Florida Gators in Gainesville earlier in the week.

Game one was supposed to take place at 6:30 Friday night in Norman, but that was moved to just after noon on Friday to avoid weather that was forecasted to move in, and move in it did, cancelling the Friday contest altogether and setting up a double-header starting Saturday at noon.

The noon series opener saw Friday night starter Braden Davis throw a gem. Going 6.0 innings strong, allowing 2 ER scattering 6 hits and striking out 5. Anthony Mackenzie would open the scoring for OU in the bottom of the 2nd with an RBI single scoring Sooner second-basemen Jackson Nicklaus. UCF would tie it up in the top half of the next inning with a solo shot by DH Matt Cedarburg, and thats where things would remain until the 6th. UCF would grab their first lead of the afternoon on an RBI groundout to make it 2-1 Knights. OU would answer immediately in the bottom half of the 6th with a Jackson Nicklaus RBI single plating Easton Carmichael. Nicklaus also had an amazing catch in the top of the 6th with the bases loaded and 2 down, a flare bound for RF was robbed by the OU two bagger, stopping a big inning in its tracks.

UCF again jumped on top in the 7th 3-2, but it would be the last time the Knights would lead in the series. OU tied it in the 7th at 3 a piece, and took the lead in the 8th on a Michael Snyder ground out that was overthrown at first base, (the Knights 4th error of the game), allowing Jason Walk to come around all the way from second to score the go ahead, and eventual game winning run. Kyson Witherspoon was brought in to nail down the 2nd save of the year for OU in the top of the 9th, he would do just that and OU won the series opener in hotly contested fashion 4-3.

Game two would be a little different as starter Braden Girton was staked to a 3-0 lead right out of the gate when OU loaded the bases with two away in the bottom of the first in a scoreless game. OU third basemen Michael Snyder would empty them by roping a fastball to the gap, and allowing Girton to toe the rubber with a multiple run lead in the top of the 2nd. OU would add another on a laser by OU right-fielder Bryce Madron that took one bounce and cleared the wall for a ground rule double. Kendall Pettis trotted home and it was 4-0 OU.

UCF would get a little something going in the third when Girton had some control issues. A single with the bases loaded plated one Knight, but Sooner center-fielder John Spikerman threw an absolute seed to nail the runner at home who tried to score from 2nd, to keep it 4-1. Girton’s control would not improve, however, and he promptly walked the next Knight to load the bases, and beaned the next to bring in UCF’s 2nd run. That would close the book on Girton, only lasting 2.2 innings, striking out 4, walking 3, hitting 3, and allowing 2 earned runs.

Carson Atwood was brought into shut the door, and he would do just that and OU carried a 4-2 lead to the bottom of the 3rd. Sooner short-stop Jaxon Willits would walk with the bases juiced to make it 5-2 in the 3rd, Carmichael would double in Bryce Madron in the 4th to make it 6-2, as Atwood would toss another scoreless frame. OU would operate efficiently, scoring a run per inning through the 7th, while Grant Stevens held the Knight offense down for 2.2, striking out 3 and only allowing 1 run. Stevens would get the win as a Scott Mudler 2-run jack in the 8th put the cherry on this one, and OU would win it 11-2.

The series finale would take place on a beautiful Sunday morning in Norman after the worst time change on earth, the spring forward. As a sleepy crowd watched a very awake Sooner offense take the field, and a return to form for Jamie Hitt, who came in with an ERA north of 11 in 24. Hitt was outstanding, going 5.2, striking out 5, scattering 4 hits and only allowing a single run. Thats all OU’s offense would need as Kendall Pettis got things cranked up in the 2nd with a SAC fly, scoring Mackenzie.

An Easton Carmichael RBI single in the 2nd made it 2-0 in the 3rd. The big blow came in the 4th, when newcomer Carter Frederick sent one into the trees in left to make it 5-0 Oklahoma. A solo homer by the Knights in the top half of the 5th showed a little fight, but OU would do what they did all weekend, answer. Jackson Nicklaus shot a single to right-center plating Mackenzie to push the lead back to 5, at 6-1. The 6th inning saw Oklahoma open it up as a SAC fly by Bryce Madron, an RBI single by Carmichael, made it 8-1, then the knockout punch as OU 3rd basemen Michael Snyder murdered a hanging curve ball for a 3 run homer pushing it to an 11-1 lead. Run-rule was in effect (10 after 7). UCF would cut it to 9 on a Matt Prevesk SAC fly in the 7th. But OU catcher Easton Carmichael said enough in the bottom half, and called game. On a 1-0 count he dented the scoreboard in left to plate 3, and walk OU off as winners on a Sunday. Completing the sweep of UCF.

OU looks to be finding their stride on offense, while figuring out who to trust on the mound. Things do not get any easier as they will host OSU on Tuesday in Norman, then head to FT. Worth to take on a top-10 ranked TCU club. Tests all.

Oklahoma head baseball coach Skip Johnson looks to his players before an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Virginia Tech Saturday, June 11, 2022, Blacksburg, Va. (AP Photo/Matt Gentry)

OU returns to action Tuesday in Norman against the Cowboys at 6:30pm