Season Ends on Walk-Off, 12th-Inning Loss

OMAHA, Neb.—It's fitting that OU's season of close games came down to—go figure—another close game, but this time the Sooners were on the short end of a 3-2, 12-inning affair at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, which ultimately ended their season.

"[It was] a great, great college baseball game," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "And that's how it should be. I'm proud of both teams. Congratulations to South Carolina, Coach Tanner. They played terrific. And, you know, clearly, if you're going to play your last baseball game and you're going to lose, you want to do something that you're going to be proud of. And I couldn't be more proud the way our players played."

It seemed like the Sooners would live to play another day when, in the top of the 12th, OU recorded its first hit since the sixth inning, but a big one, a home run by catcher Tyler Ogle to seize the lead at 2-1.

"Well, we hadn't really put any runs together the whole game," Ogle said. "So I was just trying to get up there and get something started. And putting a good swing on it [was my mentality]."

With the momentum swing after that homer and closer Ryan Duke, who has been basically lights out in 2010, entering the game for the bottom of the 12th, there was little doubt the Sooners would go on and win the game.

But South Carolina had other thoughts.

A leadoff single on a 1-2 count by right fielder Robert Beary, who eventually stole second on Ogle set up the heroics for the Gamecocks.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., a guy that scorched the Sooners in their first game but was 0-for-5 in the contest coming into his last at bat, stepped in and fell behind 1-2 in the count just like Beary before delivering a huge hit through the right hole past first baseman Cameron Seitzer on a 3-2 offering to tie the game at two apiece.

"I was able to get a pitch right down the middle on a 3 2 count," Bradley Jr. said. "He made his pitch not to walk me. I put a good swing on it and pushed it through to the right side."

That's when things got a whole lot worse for OU.

First baseman Jeffrey Jones, who came in for original first baseman Christian Walker following an earlier lineup change because of a pinch runner situation, forced a walk, and that's when OU's fate was sealed.

Gamecocks designated hitter Brady Thomas hit one back through the box, and OU center fielder Chris Ellison couldn't come up with it cleanly, allowing the winning run to score.

"Well, I knew the pressure was all going to be on them," Thomas said. "I was just looking for a strike to hit somewhere hard. I knew a base hit would probably get the run in. I got a fastball, and I was fortunate to put a good swing on it."

That ended what was a brilliant game throughout from the first pitch.

The Sooners struck first in the top of the second when shortstop Caleb Bushyhead hit a one-out RBI single into right center field to score catcher Tyler Ogle.

And that was all the scoring for a long while.

The Gamecocks finally got to OU starting pitcher Zach Neal in the bottom of the eighth when left fielder Evan Marzilli doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a single through the left side by first baseman Christian Walker, making it 1-1 heading into the ninth inning.

"I don't know if it was running out of gas," Neal said. "I left a 3 2 slider up and he hit it off the wall for a double. And usually if I go seven, [Jeremy] Erben has eight and Duke has nine. I could have kept going, but that's not my role. That's his role. Just passing it off to the next guy [is my role]."

As it was, Erben carried the Sooners through four innings without an earned run and was in line for the victory until Duke couldn't complete what would have been his 13th save of the season.

The Sooners finish with a 50-18 record, having earned their 10th trip to Omaha in Rosenblatt's final year.

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