Although they had a chance to punch their tickets to Nashville, the Oklahoma Sooners couldn’t cool down the bats for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a 13-5 loss on Sunday night. The Sooners’ chances of advancing to the Super Regionals are still alive, but it'll be have to come by way of a must-win situation on Monday.
FINAL | Mississippi State 13, Oklahoma 5— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) June 4, 2018
Time to regroup and get ready for tomorrow. The #Sooners and Bulldogs will meet again Monday at noon CT. Winner advances to the Super Regionals.
Senior Devon Perez got the start on the mound for the Sooners on Sunday, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings pitched. Dylan Grove spelled Perez in the third, throwing three strikeouts and giving up two runs on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. Lane Ramsey quieted the Bulldog bats down a bit in 2.0 innings, giving up no hits and recording two strikeouts. Jake Terry would come in to record a single out, then Ledgend Smith would step in for 2.0 innings. Aaron Brooks nabbed the final two outs in the ninth. One silver lining of the early hole is that Oklahoma had an excuse to keep some of its better relievers rested for Monday. Unfortunately for the Sooners, Mississippi State reliever Cole Gordon was able to pitch the final 6.0 innings of Sunday evening’s game, which could prove to be quite beneficial as far as pitching depth is concerned. In total, Mississippi State used five pitchers in two Sunday contests.
Domenic DeRenzo and Cade Harris recorded a two-run and a solo homer, respectively, on Sunday night. In a game in which the Sooners couldn’t keep their opponent from scoring, it was still nice to see a bit of success at the plate on the other side — even if it was too little, too late.
In the top of the second, the Bulldogs’ Justin Foscue doubled to deep right, then a groundout advanced Foscue to third. Dustin Skelton made it count with a sac fly to center, allowing Foscue to run home for the first run of the day. Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead into the third.
The runs were abundant in the top of the third for Mississippi State. MSU’s Jake Mangum singled to center field for the lead-off base hit, then Rowdey Jordan drilled a Perez pitch past the right field boundary for the two-run RBI. After a Hunter Stovall walk and an Elijah MacNamee single to center, Foscue singled to right center for an RBI to make it a 4-0 advantage for Mississippi State.
Later in the third, the Bulldogs’ Luke Alexander followed up Foscue’s RBI single with one of his own to left field. Skelton was hit by a pitch that led to Oklahoma’s first pitching change. After the change on the mound, Jordan Westburg recorded a sac fly to left, allowing Foscue to come home. Then Mangum hit his second single to center field on the night for an RBI, adding to the Bulldogs’ growing lead. Rowdey Jordan reached first on a throwing error that saw another two Bulldogs come home, extending MSU’s lead to 9-0 before the flood gates temporarily closed.
The Sooners finally got on board in the bottom of the third. After a four-pitch walk to Brylie Ware and a Justin Mitchell single to center, Brady Lindsly flied out to right, allowing Ware to run to third. Kyle Mendenhall made it count with a sac fly to center for the RBI. The Sooners cut into the large deficit with the run, making it a 9-1 game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Thomas Hughes and Blake Brewster recorded singles with one out. Cade Harris then hit his 23rd double of the year, which resulted in an RBI. The score was 9-2 in favor of Mississippi State through six.
The Bulldogs created more separation for themselves in the top of the seventh. After a Skelton single to right, Westburg grounded out into a fielder’s choice that saw Skelton reach third on a Sooner error. Then, Mangum also grounded out into a fielder’s choice, allowing another Bulldogs run. A Rowdey Jordan double would follow, and Tanner Allen paid it all off with a three-run bomb over the right field wall, extending MSU’s lead to 13-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Oklahoma’s Ware doubled to deep center, then Domenic DeRenzo touched them all with a two-run blast. The Sooners trailed 13-4 going into the eighth frame.
The bottom of the eighth saw the final run of the game scored. With two outs, Cade Harris solo homered to right, marking the game’s final score of 13-5.
Next, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will play for the third time in the Tallahassee Regional final on Monday at 12 p.m. CT (ESPN2). The winner will advance in the tournament to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Super Regionals. Vandy (34-25) finished fourth in the SEC East during the regular season before sweeping the Clemson Regional.
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