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OU baseball: Big-time start, rough finish for Sooners in Waco

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Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson watches during a game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Kansas in the Big 12 Baseball Championship at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 25, 2018. Oklahoma won 4-2. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson watches during a game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Kansas in the Big 12 Baseball Championship at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 25, 2018. Oklahoma won 4-2. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — Oklahoma split four games last weekend but had a chance to escape from Waco, Texas, with a series win over Baylor before the Bears squeaked out a 3-2 victory in 12 innings on Sunday.

Week record: 2-2

Overall record: 25-12 (6-6 Big 12)

The week ahead: Tuesday at Oral Roberts, Friday-Sunday at Minnesota

Tough end

There was a lot of good pitching Sunday in the series finale at Baylor, including Jason Ruffcorn’s extended outing.

Sooners coach Skip Johnson hasn’t been shy about using Ruffcorn, his closer, for longer stints this season.

Before Sunday’s appearance, Ruffcorn had six appearances of longer than an inning, including a two-inning, 36-pitch appearance March 15 against Missouri State.

But Sunday, Johnson had to stretch Ruffcorn out even further.

The fifth pitcher into the game, Ruffcorn mowed down Bears hitters for most of first three innings.

After allowing a leadoff single in the ninth, Ruffcorn retired nine out of the next 10 batters he faced, the only exception being an intentional walk in that ninth inning to set up a two-out force.

But things got sideways in the 12th, when Baylor leadoff hitter Shea Langeliers singled, moved to second on a bunt, tagged to third on a flyout and came home to score the winner on a Josh Bissonette single to right.

The Sooners had the leadoff hitter on base in both the ninth and 11th innings but could never even get them into scoring position.

“I thought it came down to executing,” Johnson said. “They got the leadoff hitter on and bunted him over. … That’s the separator in the game.

“It could’ve happened for us earlier in the game.”

Great start

Coming into his Friday start, Baylor starter Jimmy Winston had allowed just four earned runs in 38 innings.

But the Sooners touched him up for five in the first three innings of Friday’s series-opening 7-5 win.

Winston cruised through the first two innings, retiring all six batters he faced, before running into problems in the third.

After Brady Harlan walked and Justin Mitchell sacrificed him to second, the Sooners had four consecutive hits on Winston. The final of those was Brylie Ware’s three-run homer.

Winston finally got the final two out of the inning — around an error and a walk — but was out of the game after that.

Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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