The stage was set for Oklahoma to pull off an epic comeback but Tuesday's continue to be unkind to the Sooners. A week ago Oklahoma was pounded by OSU in Stillwater and rebounded to travel to Austin and take the series from Texas. Now the Sooners face a similar situation after becoming the twenty-seventh victim of the year for Dallas Baptist University. In their first game ranked in the Top 25 this season #23 Oklahoma fell just shy of a rally that would have topped the 16th ranked Patriots.
Quin Walbergh drew a lead-off walk for the Sooners in the bottom of the third and it would prove to be costly for Dallas Baptist. Two batters later Taylor Alspaugh walked to give Craig Aikin runners on first and second as he approached the plate. A standup double by Aikin brought in Walbergh and moved Alspaugh to third. A sacrifice by Hermelyn would bring in Alspaugh and allow OU to finish the inning with a 2-0 lead.
It wouldn't last long though as the Patriots loaded the bases with their first three batters of the inning. Jeffery Curran had been brought in to start the inning for OU but didn't make it past the fourth batter. In that at bat a wild pitch would bring Daniel Salters home to plate DBU's first run of the night. Oklahoma head Pete Hughes quickly went back to his bullpen to bring in Corey Copping. A strikeout and a 1-2-3 double-play ended the threat and got Oklahoma out of the inning with a 2-1 lead.
Copping would last two full innings before giving way to Thomas McIralth. The Patriots immediately jumped on him with Daniel Salters and Tagg Deuce leading off with back-to-back singles. Chane Lynch followed up with an RBI double and all three would eventually score to put DBU ahead 4-2 in the sixth.
Dallas Baptist extended their lead to 5-2 in the top of the eighth when David Martinelli singled to right. Nash Knight brought two more in with the next at bat by delivering another single to right and the Patriots were in front 7-2.
Oklahoma loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 8th inning. They plated two of the three runners to pull to within 7-4 but a pop out to left field by Alspaugh ended OU's threat with runners on second and third.
The Sooners loaded the bases once again in the bottom of the ninth and ultimately pushed Aikin across home plate on a bases loaded walk to close the gap to 7-5. However, when an OU come back seemed all but imminent a swing strikeout by Austin O'Brien and a 1-2-3 double-play ball hit by Chris Shaw ended the rally and the game.
"We didn't execute," a seemingly dejected Pete Hughes said afterwards. "When you're playing a really good team you've got to get your bunts down, you can't make base running mistakes, you can't walk people, and you can't make errors." Failing to capitalize on having the bases loaded in each of the final two innings and leaving twelve runners stranded is something that Oklahoma will look back on with a little bit of disgust.
Despite the loss, the Sooners did help themselves a bit in the RPI rankings. While a win would have provided a bigger boost, just playing the #1 team in the RPI rankings will improve Oklahoma's standing.
Now OU faces their next conference series which will take them back on the road against West Virginia. "It's always a tough place to play and their always good at home," Hughes said. "It's another challenge for our team on the road." Here's to hoping that the Sooners can rebound after Tuesday night's loss the same way they did last week.
Oklahoma hasn't won on Tuesday since beating Central Arkansas 7-0 on March 31st.