Sooners suffer loss to Baylor, retain top spot in conference
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The No. 9 Oklahoma baseball team dropped its first series in conference play this season after losing against Baylor, 12-10, in the series finale Sunday at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (19-17, 7-4 Big 12) scored four runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth to overcome a five-run deficit heading into the stretch. The four eighth-inning runs came on a grand slam by senior third baseman Cal Towey, his second game-winning home run of the series.
Those eight late-innings runs the Sooners (28-8, 8-4 Big 12) allowed were part of a trend.
Baylor scored in just three innings Sunday. It plated four runs in the first — eliminating an early two-run deficit — before having to make the comeback in the seventh and eighth innings.
After getting a quality outing in relief from freshman pitcher Ralph Garza Jr. — starter redshirt freshman Adam Choplick did not make it out of the first inning — the Bears got to OU junior lefty Billy Waltrip by taking exactly what he gave them. Baylor chased Waltrip with walks, hit by pitches, fielder’s choices and singles before coach Sunny Golloway turned to closer Jacob Evans to shut the door.
When the inning ended, OU clung onto a 9-8 lead. The Sooners added a run in the top of the eighth to take the 10-8 lead, but the narrow lead would not last long.
Baylor only needed one swing in the eighth inning to complete the comeback. Towey, who delivered the game-winning solo homer in Friday night’s opener — a game Baylor won, 2-1 — got ahead in the count 3-1 with the bases loaded, forcing Evans to come in with a strike to avoid a run-scoring walk.
Evans threw one in the strike zone — one Towey could more than handle. Baylor’s left-hitting third baseman crushed a no-doubt-about-it homer over the right field fence to take the 12-10 lead.
The Sooners got the game-tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth, but sophomore designated hitter Colt Bickerstaff grounded into the game-ending double play.
Despite dropping two of three games this weekend, Oklahoma remains in first place in the Big 12, holding a slight edge over Kansas State (26-11, 6-3 Big 12) and Baylor. The Sooners and Wildcats will not meet until May 17, the last weekend of the regular season.
The Sooners return to action for a double-header against Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. OU will be playing the double-header to make up the rained out game against Oklahoma State on April 2.
Game one’s first pitch is slated for 3 p.m., and the double-header finale is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., although that may change based on what time the first game ends. Normally, the second game will start 30 minutes following game one’s conclusion.