Two full games worth of innings went by before the Sooners finally won after a three-run, 18th-inning rally. Ask Sooners’ coach Pete Hughes about it now, and there isn’t exactly a joyous look that comes across his face.
He’s happy that Oklahoma won, but he doesn’t ever want to do it again.
“It was long. I just remember being hungry and tired,” Hughes said. “… But it was a great game. I thought it was great for the state of Oklahoma baseball, great for college baseball. It was great for the Sooners because we won.”
After Oklahoma State scored five runs in the final two regulation innings, Bedlam played eight scoreless innings before second baseman Kolbey Carpenter broke the tie. Another mid-week Bedlam game approaches on the schedule Tuesday, just 358 days after an epic marathon that actually led to eight losses in the next nine games for the Sooners.
Hughes doesn’t want another long game. During last year’s game, he remembers laughing with the umpires, who were complaining after being paid for just one game despite calling two full games of baseball.
Oklahoma used just 11 position players, compared to 17 for the Cowboys.Shortstop Sheldon Neuse, who recorded the save after the Sooners took the lead, recalled his teammates wanting the game to finish. Both teams chirped that they wanted the game just ended, but Neuse remembers the realization he came to as the game, which ended just after midnight after nearly six hours, drew to its later innings.
“It was like, ‘Why not just win the game?” he remembered. “You’re already here. You’re going to be here either way. You’re going to be tired the next day with a win or a loss. We might as well go home with a win. It’s exciting to play those guys. It’s a different rivalry than just about anything else. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to playing them again.”
It wasn’t hard for the Sooners to keep focus, and Neuse said that the result could have been much different had they taken a play off despite having to record 54 outs before driving back to Norman with the victory.“The one time you take focus off can be the different between winning a game and losing a game,” Neuse said. “Once you figured that out, you learn how to stay focused every pitch. . . . The best way to play this game is to be focused every pitch for nine innings and give it all you’ve got. You’re going to win eventually. You’re going to win more than you lose.”