TCU's Brance Rivera scored the game winning run against Oklahoma in the bottom of the ninth. Photo via cdn2-b.examiner.com
Oklahoma's offense continued to struggle while the defense and pitching faltered late in yet another narrow loss for the Sooners. Oklahoma desperately needed to win at TCU on Tuesday night but instead were snake bit by a late rally by the Frogs in a game that honestly should never have been as close as it was.
Starting pitcher Dillon Overton was strong in his outing but didn't get much support in the way of defense or scoring. Oklahoma's offensive struggles started in the top of the first when Caleb Bushyhead was gunned down while trying to steal second. It was untimely in the fact that it made for the third out and Max White, who has been on fire, was at bat.
The Sooners also made crucial fielding errors that not only cost them the game winning run but TCU's initial run as well. In the bottom of the first inning TCU's Jason Coats reached on a throwing error by Max White. He would then score Jatzen Witte doubled in the next at bat.
The second inning would feature Hunter Lockwood striking out watching. Matt Oberste would reach base in leading off for Oklahoma in the 3rd and would eventually make his way to third base to be in scoring position. However, he would be wasted as no other Sooner could lay down a hit.
OU seemed to have gotten things together in the fourth. Jack Mayfield and Bushyhead reached on back-to-back singles. Both would score when White, the third batter of the evening, hit a triple to right field. White would then score when Cody Reine sacrificed to left field. Oklahoma was in control of the game at this point with a 3-1 lead but the offense would then disappear as in past games.
Bushyhead and White would both reach again in the sixth, with Bushyhead making it all the way to third, but were both left stranded. In the seventh it was Oberste and Dillon Yeaman who were left stranded and then Bushyhead was left on base again in the eighth. In all, Oklahoma left seven runners stranded which is an astronomical number when you lose by just one run.
TCU loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with three consecutive singles off Damien Magnifico who had come in to relieve Overton in the seventh. Steven Okert came for Magnifico, with the bases juiced and not outs, and promptly walked in a run to draw the Frogs to within 3-2. TCU later tied the game when Kyle Von Tungeln scored on a Witte ground out.
After failing to record a hit in the final frame the defensive struggles returned once again for Oklahoma. The Sooners committed two errors in the inning to put Brance Rivera in scoring position. He came home for the winning run when Derek Odell singled to left field in front of Brian Brightwell.
Oklahoma is firmly on the NCAA bubble and this game caused them to slide down the backside of it. The Sooners entered the game with an RPI ranking of 64th which makes every game a must win from here on out. Looks like there's a lot more to play for this weekend in the Bedlam series than just state pride.