OU Notches Win in Final Midweek Contest

Last night's victory over the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks was a huge win, but it would have meant nothing if the No. 15 Sooners couldn't come back today and beat the Texas Southern Tigers.

But the Tigers, who were in Norman playing one of OU's two make-up games, are not the best of ball clubs, and the Sooners took advantage of that fact in their 13-1 victory. The win improves OU to 39-14 and keeps its chances of earning one of the 16 regional host slots alive.

"It's a game where you come out if you don't play well and you happen to stumble and lose this game it could do a lot of damage to you," head coach Sunny Golloway said.

The Sooners had the game won in the early innings by putting up one run in the first and crooked numbers on the scoreboard in three of the next four innings while freshman pitcher Ryan Gibson worked comfortably on the mound.

"It's a lot better throwing with a lead," Gibson said. "You feel more comfortable being able to throw what you want to throw and have more confidence in yourself."

Freshman left fielder Max White launched his 13th homer of the season during the fourth inning. He is now tied with Cameron Seitzer for the team lead in home runs.

Sophomore shortstop Caleb Bushyhead extended his hitting streak to 15 games by going 3-for-3 with a double.

With a 10-0 lead to start the sixth inning, Golloway pulled Gibson and all but two of the starting position players.

Gibson didn't give up a run and allowed just two hits in his five innings of work. He struck out five batters.

"Just trying to get the reps in out there," said Gibson, who threw just 55 pitches. "Trying to do my job and throw strikes."

The Sooners tacked on three runs in the seventh. Junior center fielder Ricky Eisenberg homered to lead off the innings, junior left fielder Elliot Blair tripled in a run and was later plated on a single by junior shortstop Cale Ellis.

OU lost the shutout when Texas Southern plated its first run of the game in the eighth inning on an RBI double.

Now that the midweek games are over, the Sooners can start focusing on their weekend series against the Kansas Jayhawks and going for second place in the Big 12. The series will be the final series during conference play.

"This is going to be a really big series for us," said sophomore right fielder Cody Reine, who went 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBIs. "If we go in there and are able to sweep or take two out of three, that's going to be huge."

The Sooners are third in the Big 12 standings, trail the second-place Kansas State Wildcats by 20 percentage points and are ahead of Texas Tech by three percentage points.

If OU sweeps the Jayhawks on the road this weekend, then it will need Kansas State to at least one game to end the season in second place. The Sooners can afford to lose one game this weekend, but they'll need Texas Tech to lose at least one game as well and have Kansas State win just one game.

Texas Tech plays Nebraska and Kansas State plays Texas A&M to wrap up their Big 12 schedules.

"We know they've got some tough opponents," Golloway said. "If we can win the series [against Kansas] two out of three, there's a good chance we'll finish in the two spot and be the two seed in the Big 12 tournament."

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