Walk-Off Grand Slam Leads OU to Sweep

NORMAN, Okla. – Senior outfielder Ricky Eisenberg couldn't have asked for a better way to finish Sunday's game against the Kansas Jayhawks.

He stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied game, and three pitches later he found himself trotting around the bases with his teammates waiting for him at home to celebrate his walk-off grand slam in the No. 10 Sooners' 11-7 victory.

"I was just sitting on a fastball, and I got it," Eisenberg said after receiving the shaving-cream pie in the face. "It was right there. I was just trying to put the ball in the outfield and try to hit a sac-fly."

The grand slam was the first of Eisenberg's career and marks the second straight Mother's Day that he hit a homer.

Although the Seal Beach, Calif., native brought in the game's biggest runs, he was not in the starting lineup Sunday.

Eisenberg replaced starter junior outfielder Erik Ross in the fourth inning, but coming off the bench was not an issue.

He played in 39 games and started 20 coming into the series finale and he made an appearance in Saturday's game as a replacement, so he admits producing when he's asked to isn't a big deal.

"You never know when your number is going to get called," said Eisenberg, who drove in six runs in four at-bats. "You just always have to be ready to go."

Head coach Sunny Golloway has called Eisenberg's number multiple times in the past to lay down a suicide or safety squeeze with a runner on third, but Golloway let the senior know before the at-bat that he didn't have to worry about laying down a good enough bunt to win the game.

"I told him we're not going to do anything fancy; we're not going to squeeze," he said. "I didn't want him to keep looking at me thinking are we going to squeeze. I think he did a great job. He was just trying to hit a fly ball and he got a fly ball. It went a little further than he needed to, but it was a good thing. I'm happy for him."

But Eisenberg's ninth-inning heroics were almost unnecessary.

The Sooners (35-13, 13-9 Big 12) gave up a two-run lead in the seventh with freshman lefty Dillon Overton on the mound. The lefty had given up just three runs (two earned) in relief coming into the game.

The game was tied 4-4 at that point, but OU tacked on three runs in the seventh and eighth to give senior closer Ryan Duke, who replaced Overton with two outs in the seventh, the chance to close out the game.

But the closer blew up in the ninth.

Duke gave up two homers to tie the game at 7 apiece before recording an out, but Golloway stuck with his closer to get out of the already mess of an inning.

Although Duke wasn't happy with blowing a three-run lead in the final frame, Golloway thought he pitched with the "heart of a champion" for being able to get three outs after giving up the homers.

"I mean he did to have to get those three outs," he said. "I know he's going to be disappointed and he probably wouldn't listen to me today so I'll be sure to tell him on Tuesday because we're off tomorrow, but I thought it was gutsy and really good of a performance. I know that's going to get lost in the fact that he gave up two home runs."

Duke earned his 15th career victory in his 86th appearance, which is 10 shy of tying OU's career appearances record. He already holds the record for most career saves with 33.

The victory solidified the sweep against Kansas – the Sooners' third sweep during conference play – and helped keep OU in the hunt for a regional host bid.

If the Sooners didn't blow the two-run lead in the seventh, the win would have been the Jayhawks' second loss of the season against a lefty.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Jordan John was in line for the victory by allowing two runs on three hits in six innings. He struck out eight batters, which is one shy of his career high.

Kansas' only other loss against a starting left-handed pitcher was on opening day against Texas Christian sophomore phenom Matt Purke.

The Sooners don't have any midweek games scheduled – due to finals week at OU – but will return to L. Dale Mitchell Park next weekend against the New Mexico Lobos.

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