Oklahoma failed in their attempt to secure the first weekend sweep of their season due to a late rally from Rutgers. The culprit in Sunday's 8-6 loss was the Sooner bullpen which gave up five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
OU got off to a rough start when Rutgers scored three runs in the top of the first but the Sooners were able to settle in and get two back in the bottom half of the inning. They were able to tie up the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second when a Hunter Haley sacrifice scored Mac James.
After three scoreless innings, it appeared as if Oklahoma was about to take control of the game in the bottom of the 6th when an RBI single by Niko Buentello that scored James, for the second time in the game, was followed up by an RBI sacrifice by Hector Lorenzana that scored Haley. With a 5-3 lead the Sooners were three innings away from their fifth consecutive win.
Things quickly unraveled for the Sooners though as Rutgers would take Oklahoma's bullpen to task over the next two innings. Jacob Evans came in to relieve starter Jake Elliott, who was on track to pick up his second win of the year, and gave up three runs in the top of the seventh. Drew Krittenbrink came in for relief and didn't fare much better by giving up two more runs in the 8th, extending their lead to 8-6.
Oklahoma loaded the bases, with just one out, in the bottom of the ninth but their rally fell short with back-to-back pop ups by Haley and Buentello.
Perhaps overlooked in the loss was another outstanding performance by Mac James who went 4-for-4 from the plate. He crossed home plate three times and belted a seventh inning home run.
The loss drops Oklahoma's season record to 11-5. They are on the road this Tuesday night when they play UTA in the Texas Rangers' Ballpark at Arlington. They'll be back home in Norman next weekend for a three-game series against Belmont. That series will start a stretch of eight consecutive home games for the Sooners.