Coming into the day the Sooners’ RPI sat at 62, already placing them firmly on the questionable side of the bubble, and they didn’t get it, diminishing their chances even more heading into the final weeks of the season.
“If that’s the way it falls, that’s the way it falls,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “We’re not gonna cry over spilled milk. All we can do is go out, you know, do a good job in the classroom with our finals, play hard against Baylor and try to get that weekend if we can.”
The Sooners lost this one because they couldn’t execute in key situations.
One of those came in the second inning, when OU could have took an early lead but stranded runners on second and third base after getting them there with no outs.
“We don’t make contact twice,” Golloway said. “So, you know, we’ve got to be able to at least get a run in there early on.”
In all, they left seven players on base.
Late in the game, they failed to come through on the defensive end.
Oklahoma State got a single to start the eighth inning, and pitcher Steven Okert couldn’t field a bunt, allowing the Cowboys to put runners on first and second with nobody out after the infield single.
A walk loaded the bases, setting the stage for the play that scored the go-ahead run.
Cowboys designated hitter Randy McCurry flied a ball near the line in right and Sooner right fielder Cody Reine raced and made a fantastic catch, then firing a rifle to the plate.
Oklahoma State second baseman Robbie Rea tagged and would have been toast at the plate, but a collision at the dish jarred the ball loose from OU catcher Dylan Neal.
Still, Reine could have just let it fall foul and Okert could have taken his chances at striking out McCurry, ahead in the count.
“The ball’s in foul territory, [second baseman Jack] Mayfield’s trying to yell, ‘Let it go, let it go, let it go,’” Golloway said. “But, you know, human nature tells you to catch it and let it fly, so that’s what it came down to. It came down to a bang, bang play at home.”
One that would have went OU’s way had Neal just held onto the ball.
Even so, Reine nearly tied things up in the top of the ninth.
He crushed one to the fence in left center, but it barely stayed in the park and left fielder Gage Green made an acrobatic catch at the wall.
“If he hits it anywhere else, the ball leaves the yard with that distance,” Golloway said. “That ball traveled what, 414? And that’s the deepest part of the ballpark, but again that’s baseball. Our whole season just got summarized right there in that ball game. That’s been our whole season. It’s been a break here, a break there, a play here or a play there.
“And, you know, I told the guys down the line that’s where we’ve got to be men about it. We understand our season. We’ve been close, but we haven’t done what we need to to get over the hump.”
The Sooners still have a huge Big 12 Conference series against No. 3 Baylor next weekend, followed by a rematch against TCU and weekend set hosting Samford.
Until then, however, they’ll have to stomach this loss which featured 5 1/3 solid relief innings from Okert.
He struck out four, while giving up just the earned run on three hits and one walk in the losing decision.
Starter Dillon Overton was chased after 2 2/3 innings, surrendering a couple of earned runs despite striking out six.
Designated hitter Matt Oberste recorded two hits in four plate appearances, while second baseman Jack Mayfield finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.
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