The Baylor Bears shut out the Oklahoma Sooners 4-0 in the Big 12 Tournament’s opening game. Junior outfielder Steele Walker was absent from the starting lineup today, but with how the Bears were pitching, it might not have mattered. The Sooners still have a chance to recover, but the road to redemption will be difficult.
FINAL | Baylor 4, Oklahoma 0#Sooners will play the loser of Texas/Kansas at 9 a.m. CT on Thursday.— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) May 23, 2018
It was a carousel of Sooner pitchers on the day as Jake Irvin got the start on the mound. Irvin gave up two runs in the first inning before settling in. He then went on to record six total strikeouts and allow five hits through 5.0 innings pitched. Next it was Levi Prater’s turn. Through 1.2 innings, Prater struck out three of the seven batters he faced and gave up a single hit. Oklahoma’s pitching staff started to shuffle in and out after this. The combination of Connor Berry, Kyle Tyler, Braidyn Fink and Lane Ramsey pitched the final 2.1 innings, and allowed two more runs and two more hits with just one combined strikeout.
At the plate, the Sooners as a team totaled four hits, and no player had more than one. Junior infielder Cade Harris’ double in the bottom of the eighth was the lone extra base hit on the day for the Sooners.
Oklahoma got off to an inauspicious start, as typically sure-handed Brendan Zaragoza committed an error on a routine grounder to open the action. A subsequent error on the pickoff attempt followed by a Richard Cunningham single got Baylor on the board. A Cunningham steal and a two-out single by Shea Langeliers then increased that lead to 2-0.
After stranding several runners in the prior innings, Baylor finally added to the lead in the top off the eighth on a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch from Lane Ramsey.
OU threatened on a few occasions from that point on, but Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Cory Bradford was the undisputed star of the day for Baylor.
Next up, Oklahoma awaits the conclusion of the Texas/Kansas game to find out who its next opponent will be. The loser between UT and KU will play OU tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. CT. The Sooners lost both three-game weekends against the Longhorns and the Jayhawks this season, 2-1, so whoever the opponent is should prove to be a formidable challenge. Both teams are clicking at the moment, so a crucial win will not come easy. OU sat at No. 38 in the RPI rankings entering the weekend, and they can’t afford a two-game sweep.