Sooner Magic Strikes For Third Straight Game

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sophomore right fielder Cody Reine stood atop second base like he was the king of the mountain of the first day of the Big 12 Tournament.

With arms in air following the double, he watched sophomore pinch runner Erik Ross and sophomore catcher Tyler Ogle cross the plate and the rest of his teammates storm out of the dugout as the No. 12 Sooners celebrated their 3-2 walk-off victory against the Kansas Jayhawks in a game that didn't end until 1:18 a.m.

"It was a great feeling to be able to know we just came from behind yet again to beat them," said Reine, who went 2-for-4 with the two RBIs. "It was just a great feeling."

But the way the field was playing, the fact the ball reached the center field wall was somewhat of a shock, head coach Sunny Golloway said.

"The ball didn't carry all night," he said. "When the ball went off Cody Reine's bat and burned him in center field, I was surprised. I don't know how the ball carried in this heavy air.

"I made a comment afterwards that if that's not Sooner Magic then I don't know what is."

It was appropriate for the walk-off double to come of Reine's bat. He broke up Kansas junior pitcher T.J. Walz's no-hitter in the fifth inning with a single.

The victory was the Sooners' (43-14) eighth straight, their 23rd come-from-behind and their third straight against the Jayhawks that featured ninth-inning heroics.

"We're starting to peak and we all know that this is our chance to get going, start our move to Omaha in the postseason," junior pitcher Michael Rocha said. "We all feel it. We're working for our final goal to get to Omaha."

But Reine wouldn't be considered the morning's hero if it hadn't been for the hitters in front of him in the ninth and Rocha's start.

OU got a very quality start out of junior pitcher Michael Rocha, who was coming off a solid performance a week ago in a pivotal victory over Arkansas. The righty went eight-plus innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out six batters.

"I'm not going to say I'm happy with [my performance], but we came back to win," Rocha said.

Sophomore third baseman Garrett Buechele, who was named to the All-Big 12 First Team on Tuesday, led off the ninth with a single to right field and was lifted for Ross to come in to run.

The Sooners' team leader in home runs, sophomore first baseman Cameron Seitzer, laid down a bunt to move Ross over to second, and Ross advanced to third after stealing the base on a full-count pitch to Ogle.

Ogle walked in his at-bat and was on first acting as the game-winning run.

OU was hanging by a thread entering the ninth.

Walz had not allowed either a hit or a run since Reine led off the fifth inning with a single and was later plated by junior designated hitter Ricky Eisenberg on a fielding error.

Kansas should have entered the final frame with more than just the one-run lead.

All night Rocha and his two relievers, junior Anthony Collazo and junior Jeremy Erben, were backed up by highlight-reel catches.

But the biggest defensive play didn't come until the ninth inning. With runners on first and third, Erben forced a 6-4-3 double play that wouldn't have been if the ball hadn't come off Kansas senior first baseman Brett Lisher's bat like a rocket.

"I thought there were some balls hit really hard," Kansas head coach Ritch Price said. "Certainly, they made some outstanding defensive plays along the way."

The victory puts the Sooners in the driver's seat for the remainder of the Big 12 tournament.

They will square off against the Baylor Bears at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Kansas State Wildcats at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Bears defeated the Wildcats in the two teams' matchup, which was delayed an hour and a half because of rain, earlier in the day.

OU knows the importance of winning this game in terms of how it'll impact the road to the championship game. The Sooners have found themselves outside of the game on multiple occasions despite winning two of their three pool games, and they don't want to be in that same situation this year.

"We're playing because we want to play on Sunday – it's that simple," Golloway said.

Here are the scores to the rest of Wednesday's games:

No. 4 Texas A&M 9, No. 5 Texas Tech 2

No. 8 Missouri 7, No. 1 Texas 3

No. 5 Baylor 11, No. 3 Kansas State 8

*All rankings are according to tournament seeding

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