The Oklahoma Sooners have already accomplished the unthinkable, so why not push it a little further? Playing without their two best hitters, OU has advanced to Saturday of the Big 12 Baseball Tournament and they’re hoping it turns into a double-header.
Steele Walker has been absent from the lineup for the entire tournament with an abdominal strain and Kyler Murray tweaked a hamstring, while stealing second base, on Thursday morning. Despite those losses, Oklahoma has been able to stave off elimination twice, knocking out top-seeded Texas on Thursday and Kansas on Friday.
Thomas Hughes was inserted into the lineup and went 2-for-4 from the plate, producing an RBI. He combined with Justin Mitchell (2-for-4) and Kyle Mendenhall (2-for-3) to crank six of OU’s seven hits in Friday’s game against Kansas.
The Sooners scored three runs in the first inning off of KU starting pitcher Taylor Turski. Brandon Zaragoza turned a 10-pitch at-bat into a walk and then eventually scored on a single from Mitchell and a Kansas throwing error.
Mendenhall delivered and RBI single that was followed by a RBI double from Thomas Hughes to boost Oklahoma’s lead to 3-0 at the end of the opening frame. Another run would come across the plate in the third, pushing OU to a 4-0 lead.
Junior Kyle Tyler make his first start since April 24. He went six innings, striking out five and allowing two runs on three hits, to earn his fifth win of the season.
Oklahoma’s bullpen kept the Jayhawks off the board over the final three innings to preserve the win. Lane Ramsey worked them through the seventh, with a pair of strike outs, then Braidyn Fink and Conner Berry combined to produce a scoreless eighth.
Austin Hansen picked up his eighth save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth inning.
Next up for Oklahoma is the Baylor Bears. The Sooners will fight to stay alive in the tournament again at 9:00 AM Saturday morning. They’ll need to beat Baylor twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship. Should they win the morning game then they’ll play the Bears a second time Saturday afternoon.