Sooners stave off elimination twice

The Sooners are halfway home to doing it the hard way.

They eliminated the No. 1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers 5-4 after topping Army in extra innings earlier in the day to remain alive in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

It sets up a revenge date with the Appalachian State Mountaineers, who knocked them off 5-4 in Saturday's opener.

OU was able to advance despite a near-ninth inning catastrophe.

It led 5-1 heading into the ninth, and starter Dillon Overton allowed a double and RBI single, paving the way for his exit in favor of Kindle Ladd.

Ladd, appeared poised to slam the door shut, but a popup into shallow right off the bat of Virginia's best hitter, Steven Bruno, fell in between Sooner second baseman Jack Mayfield and right fielder Cody Reine, who failed to communicate.

That scored two runs, cutting the deficit to 5-4, but Ladd worked out of it with a ground ball to first to end it.

"Dillon pitched outstanding," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway, whose starter lasted 8 1/3 allowing just two earned runs. "Kindle Ladd had a great outing as things were falling apart around him. We realize we committed more errors but we happened to score more runs. We feel very blessed. Now we move on tomorrow to play a very worthy opponent."

It might not have been that way had the Sooners not got to work early in the game.

Designated hitter Matt Oberste slammed a homer in the bottom of the second, and Mayfield cleared the bases with a triple to make it 4-0 in the fourth.

Virginia cut into it with one run in the fifth before their furious rally that fell short and resulted in elimination in the ninth.

"We want to compliment Virginia and Coach O'Connor," Golloway said. "What a wonderful season they've had. I know it's the second time we've been in here and eliminated them, but they were outstanding. We tip our hat to them."

Mayfield led the OU offense with three RBIs and a 1-for-2 performance plus a walk, while Bruno finished 2-for-5 for the Hoos.


UVA starter Shane Holley (9-2) suffered just his second loss of the season, while Overton improved to 6-3 for OU.

In game one, OU managed to scratch across a run in the top of the 10th against Army when shortstop Caleb Bushyhead hit a single back through the box to make it 2-1.

It was the Sooners' first lead in 28 innings after Army took a 1-0 lead earlier in the game.

OU and Appalachian State are now set for a 3 p.m. first pitch Monday, with a second game ensuing should the Sooners win.

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