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OU-OSU to tangle in Bedlam baseball

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A year ago Oklahoma State’s baseball team made it to the semifinals of the College World Series. The Oklahoma Sooners floundered and failed to make a postseason regional. This year, the fortunes have flipped. OSU is floundering near the Big 12 Conference while OU is fighting for second place in the league.

Both teams meet in a three-game series beginning tonight with a lot on the line. Tonight’s game will be at Tulsa’s ONEOK Field (FOX Sports Atlantic). The Friday and Saturday contests will be at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (FOX Sports Oklahoma). The first pitch for all three games will be at 7:05 p.m.

The Cowboys are 24-15 overall and currently eighth in the conference with a 6-14 mark. OSU, riddled with injuries this season, has lost eight of its last nine contests. The Pokes had one conference game against Texas canceled on April 30 due to a soggy field at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. Kansas State, the current cellar-dweller sits with a 6-15 Big 12 record and has a three-game set at Baylor.

Since next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship only includes the top eight teams, the Cowboys are in jeopardy of not making the postseason for the first time in seven years. OSU failed to make the conference tourney in 2010 with a last-place regular season finish.

No. 20 Oklahoma (34-18, 12-9 Big 12) is third in the conference. First place TCU has finished its regular season schedule and the Frogs haver clinched the regular season Big 12 crown and the top seed in next week’s tournament. No. 4 Texas Tech, at 13-8 in the conference, is just one game in front of the Sooners. The Red Raiders host Kansas this weekend. If Oklahoma and Tech tie, the Sooners would clinch the second seed next week as they won two of three over the Raiders six weeks ago. Tech was ranked second nationally when OU took them down.

Oklahoma has won seven of its last nine games and captured the last three conference series including toppling fifth-ranked TCU last weekend in Norman. OU’s No. 16 RPI rating has the Sooners in a good position to host an NCAA Regional in two weeks.

Offensively, the Sooners are sixth in the conference with a .250 batting average, second with 23 home runs, and third with 107 RBI. OU ranks third with 114 runs, and seventh with 168 hits. OSU is eighth with a .241 batting average, fifth with 16 homers, and seventh with 87 RBI. The Cowboys are tied for sixth with 99 runs and eighth with 164 hits.

Defensively, the Sooners rank fifth in the Big 12 with a 4.82 ERA and allowing 193 hits. Oklahoma ranks second with 191 strikeouts. OSU is eighth with a 4.93 ERA, sixth with 194 hits allowed, and sixth with 160 strikeouts.

Oklahoma State beat the Sooners, 4-3, on March 21 in a non-conference matchup in Stillwater. Both teams added a mid-season game seven years ago that doesn’t count in the Big 12 race.

Pokes catcher Colin Simpson smacked a solo homer to give OSU a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The Cowboys added a couple of runs in the third. OU catcher Renae Martinez got the Sooners on board in the fourth with a single shot to centerfield, which sent Ware home from second base.

OSU took a 4-1 lead on designated hitter Cade Cabbiness’ single to bring Simpson home from third.

Oklahoma loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles in the sixth. Ware scored on a bases-loaded walk, and then the Pokes ended the inning with a double play to hold a 4-2 advantage.

Oklahoma left fielder Steele Walker hit a triple and later scored on a balk to cut the OSU lead to 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning.

The Bedlam rivalry is one of the best in the country, but it has been several years since it has been a heated rivalry with both teams at the top of the league standings.

“It’s a great series, any way you look at it. I’ve coached in other rivalry series, whether it was Arizona-Arizona State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, and they are nothing like it,” said OSU coach Josh Holliday. “Those are great experiences, but they aren’t played in front of 12,000 in different venues in the state of Oklahoma like this.

“This is something that, for three days, our kids get to be in the center of the Oklahoma sports beat. And that’s cool. For college baseball, that’s our time.”

“There’s nothing like a rivalry, and I think Josh and I have it right now,” Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes recently told Baseball America. “It’s a rivalry that’s respectful, and both coaching staffs respect each other. Both rosters respect each other. It’s not like the old days where, when you go to Bedlam, it will be a bench-clearer. That’s not baseball. We want to beat each other’s brains in, believe me, but we want to do it with respect to the game and the rivalries.”

Starting Pitchers (all right-handers)

                        OU                                          OSU

Game 1:          Jake Irvin (6-0, 2.67 ERA)     Tyler Buffett (5-5, 4.72)

Game 2:          Devon Perez (5-2, 3.69)          Joe Lienhard (2-2, 4.73)

Game 3:           Kyle Tyler (0-1, 4.50)             Blake Battenfield (2-4, 5.11)

 ETC.

*OSU leads the overall series 155-138.

*OSU leads 71-61 at neutral sites; 16-13 in Tulsa and 55-48 in OKC.

*Hughes is 651-486-3 (.582) overall; 127-101-1 (.557) at OU; 5-11 vs. OSU.

*Holliday is 194-102 (.655) overall; 13-6 vs. OU.

*There have been only six series sweeps. OU swept the Pokes in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 2000. OSU swept the Sooners in 1980 and 2001.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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