Sooners sweep doubleheader over No. 2 Baylor

NORMAN, Okla. — If handing the second-ranked Baylor Bears their first Big 12 loss of the season wasn't enough, sweeping the double-dip and taking the series sure should be.

OU captured the series victory with a 2-1 game two victory Saturday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park, hours after knocking off Baylor 1-0 in a 10th inning affair in the opener.

"You know, right now at the point of our season, we're almost out of contention for the tournament," said OU left fielder Erik Ross, who delivered the game-winning hit in game one. "So coming in and getting a sweep off those guys, not losing a game all year in conference, is huge for us."

And just like the first game, both teams' starting pitchers dazzled, dealing 15 1/3 innings of combined work and just a single earned run.

But it was OU's Jonathan Gray who slightly got the better of Baylor's Trent Blank.

Gray dealt nine strikeouts to just two walks and five hits, allowing only an unearned run in the eighth.

OU broke through in the first and second with a run in each frame.

Center fielder Max White ripped an RBI single to right to plate right fielder Cody Reine, who raced to third on a triple a batter earlier.

Shortstop Caleb Bushyhead's RBI groundout an inning later gave OU a 2-0 advantage it would never relinquish.

Baylor's best chance to storm back came in the eighth, when designated hitter Nathan Orf hit a run-scoring single to right center to cut the lead in half, but the Bears squandered a golden opportunity to tie or take the lead soon after.

Bears second baseman Lawton Langford fanned and first baseman Max Muncy bounced into the play of the game, a 4-6-3 twin killing.

Sooner second baseman Jack Mayfield gathered a sharp grounder, flipped to Bushyhead, who leaped over the runner and tossed a rifle that first baseman Evan Mistich brilliantly picked up off the dirt.

It was a play that OU hasn't gotten the bounce on most of the year.

"Yeah, there's no doubt, I mean, it's baseball," Golloway said. "You got to take the good with the bad and we've had to take a lot of bad. And I've told this team and I haven't said that to a lot of teams, but I told this team they've been hit in the gut so many times but they continue to get up off the canvas and fight hard."

Closer Steven Okert, who came in and showed that attitude by forcing the double play ball, did the rest, striking out the side in the ninth.

Gray improves to 6-4 on the year, while Blank (9-1) suffers his first loss of the season.

Reine led all Sooner hitters, going 2-for-2 with a run scored, while Orf was 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Bears.

In the first game, it was Ross who came through with the aforementioned game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th to break a scoreless tie.

But the work of starter Jordan John could not be ignored either.

He was superb, throwing 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball, striking out five and giving up just five hits and two walks before being lifted in the ninth.

"I was king of the castle out there on the mound," John said. "I felt great. You know, I was having fun, laughing around, joking around. Even when it was a 0-0 ball game, you gotta have fun."

His counterpart, Baylor ace Josh Turley had some fun, too, dealing seven scoreless innings while striking out six and surrendering just three hits before exiting after the seventh.

That left it up to the bullpens, and ultimately Okert won out over Bears relievers Ryan Smith, Crayton Bare and Dillon Newman.

Okert, who had Baylor's hitters off-balance with a nasty slider, picked up the victory after throwing 1 1/3 innings without a run, while Newman was tagged with the loss after giving up the winning run on two hits and a walk in extras.

"That's the best it's been all year," Okert said. "Coach [Jack] Giese's been working with me on it, so he's helped me a lot coming along with it."

Sooner designated hitter Matt Oberste led the OU offense with two hits in four plate appearances, while Ross had the game-winner despite going just 1-for-5.

Only Muncy finished with more than one hit for Baylor in the opener.

The two conclude the series with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.

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