Oklahoma topples No. 3 Baylor
Sooners win fourth consecutive this season against Bears
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Another Big 12 Championship game ended in walk-off fashion on Thursday as Evan Mistich legged out an infield single to score Erik Ross in the ninth inning of Oklahoma's 3-2 win against No. 3 Baylor.
"I was just trying to hit it hard somewhere, just put it in play,” Mistich said. “I was just trying to get down the line as quick as a good and beat the throw.”
Ross started the late-inning magic with a double that found the gap in shallow left-center field. The one-out hit was followed by an intentional walk issued to Cody Reine, who homered to right field in the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2. A groundout by Max White followed and that brought Mistich to the plate, who connected on the infield single for his second walk-off hit of the year after one against Kansas State.
“What I’m thinking of right now is the movie Groundhog Day,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “We were in here yesterday talking about the same type of ball game. I am really proud of our club, I’d like to complement our opponent, Baylor, what a terrific season they are having and what a terrific team they have.”
The Sooners are 4-0 this season against the Bears, who are also the tournament’s top seed. The win keeps OU (37-21) in the winners’ bracket despite Baylor striking first with a pair of RBI singles in the top of the fourth inning off OU starter Jordan John. The 2-0 lead was short lived as Oklahoma used the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the deficit in half with a run scored on a double play turned on Hunter Lockwood.
The Sooners had three of their 10 hits on the afternoon in the fourth inning and could have broken the game open if it weren’t for a solid double play turned by the Baylor defense.
John settled down after giving up three of his six hits allowed in the fourth and lasted seven innings with five strikeouts. Steven Okert came out of the Sooner bullpen for the second consecutive day and got the win with two shutout innings.
Okert entered the game in the top of the eighth after Reine hit his fifth homer of the year an inning earlier to tie the game at 2-2 off Baylor starter Trent Blank, who lasted six innings and gave up seven hits and two walks.
“We know once Cody [Reine] hit the bomb we were going to go to [Steven] Okert,” Golloway said. “We’ve got two other guys getting loose, and a quality bullpen, but Okert is the leader out of that bullpen.”
The homer marked the 19th of Reine’s career, and the eighth that tied the game or provided a go-ahead run for the Sooners in the last three years, including three this year.
“They are stressful, I guess from a certain standpoint, but they are also very exciting to be able to win,” Reine said about the late-inning wins. “It shows how tough we are as a team and we never give up. We know we can win games late.”
Reine finished with two hits and was joined by Caleb Bushyhead who also had two base knocks.
Okert (8-6) figured into his fifth consecutive appearance with the win. Okert is now 3-0 with two saves in his last five outings.
Baylor reliever Dillon Newman took the loss with one run allowed off two hits and a walk in the final 2.1 innings.