Its been the theme of the season for Oklahoma's baseball team. Spotty pitching coupled with spotty hitting equates to a ton of frustration. At times is seems as if this team is so close and yet at other times so far away. That's how it was on Friday night as OU dropped their opening game of the Nike Showcase in Eugene, Oregon.
This was a game that really was lost in the first inning if we just want to cut to the chase. Here's what starter Steven Okert did with the first four batters he faced - single, walk, double (run scored), double (2 runs scored). Oklahoma entered their at bat of the first inning trailing 3-0 and they responded with Erik Ross striking out looking, Caleb Bushyhead popping out and Hunter Lockwood striking out. Not really what anyone was hoping for.
Okert settled after the first inning and over the next four innings he would strike out four UConn batters, allow just two runners to reach base and kept goose eggs on the Huskies side of the scoreboard. During that same time span OU would tie up the game with Matt Oberste scoring on a Cody Reine single in the second and both Ross and Bushyhead crossing the plate in the third to tie the game at 3-3.
Big XII Friday Night Scoreboard
Texas A&M 6, Cal State Fullerton 1
Oklahoma State 2, Alabama A&M 0
Missouri 10, Charlotte 4
Connecticut 8, Oklahoma 7
Kansas State 14, Hartford 3
Stony Brook 4, Kansas 0
Okert gave up two more runs in the top of the sixth to put UConn back up 5-3 but got through the seventh by retiring the side. Even Jordan John who has been spectacular for Oklahoma as a middle reliever struggled on Friday night. He gave up four consecutive hits against the only four batters he faced on the night with two runs scoring in the process putting the Sooners down 7-3 at the end of the 8th.
It actually got worse for OU in the ninth when Connecticut's Ryan Moore scored to give the Huskies their much needed insurance run and an 8-3 lead. The Sooners rallied to plate four runs in the bottom of the ninth but it was one short of what was needed providing an 8-7 UConn victory.
We could spin this by saying that the Huskies are the defending Big East champs and have a total of 19 players back from that team. However, the truth is, UConn was 4-6 going into this game and for the first time this season Oklahoma dropped a game to a team with a losing record. Even more frightening is the fact that OU will play two Top 25 opponents in their final three games in Oregon.
The Sooners get things cracking again on Saturday afternoon when Dillion Overton throws against West Virginia. This is an absolute must win for Oklahoma. The Mountaineers were run-ruled by Oregon State (OU's Sunday Opponent) on Friday 11-0 in seven innings. If OU can't come out of this game with a win then we're looking at a long, long baseball weekend. First pitch in the West Virginia game will be around 1:00 p.m. (CST).
Oklahoma will also play a nightcap game at 9:00 p.m. (CST) against Oregon who was upset by Illinois 2-1 on Friday night.