A trip to Austin, Texas, for a three-game set against the Texas Longhorns will cap off the regular season — and perhaps the entire season — for the Sooners.
A 1-5 swoon over the last six conference games has the Sooners near the bottom of the Big 12 standings with a 9-12 record. If the Sooners fail to win at least one game against the Longhorns in the Thursday to Saturday series, they can potentially finish dead last in the conference standings and miss out on the eight-team Big 12 tournament from March 22-26.
Here’s what would have to happen for the Sooners to miss out on the tournament:
If the Sooners (9-12 Big 12) win at least one game against the Longhorns (6-14), they are in the tournament.
If Oklahoma gets swept, however, its fate depends on the result of the weekend series between Kansas State (8-13) and Kansas (9-12). Because the Sooners beat the Wildcats and Jayhawks in series play earlier in the season, only one possible outcome would keep them out of the tournament.
If Oklahoma does indeed get swept by Texas and Kansas State wins two of three games against Kansas, it would fall to dead last in the conference standings and miss the tournament. In this scenario, the Longhorns would finish with a 9-14 conference record, both Kansas State and Kansas would finish 10-14 and the Sooners would be the only team in the conference with 15 losses.
“I think you just play the game. You don’t talk about the tournament; you don’t talk about the regional,” head coach Skip Johnson said. “I think you go out and play baseball and let it take care of itself and if things happen the right way then they happen the right way.”
“I thought our bats got a lot better...”
When the final out of the rubber match on Sunday, May 11, against Oklahoma State was recorded, the Sooners had produced seven runs on nine hits and at one point held leads of 4-1 and 6-5.
Most days, that offensive production would be sufficient for a victory. Unfortunately, the Cowboys seemingly had an answer for every Oklahoma rally and would go on to win 10-7 to clinch the series. It’s the second most runs the Sooners had produced in a loss all season.
Redshirt sophomore Jordan Vujovich, sophomore Tanner Tredaway and junior Brady Lindsly — the top three hitters in Sunday’s lineup — each had a pair of hits and combined for five runs scored. Senior Brylie Ware reached base four times and had an RBI in his final game at L. Dale Mitchell.
“I thought our at-bats got a lot better (throughout the weekend),” Johnson said. “With (freshman Milan) Walla coming in there last night to give us some electricity, Brylie had a really good weekend, Tredaway continued to do what he’s done, there were some big offensive days to sustain rallies and do what we need to do.”
The Longhorns won two of three games against Texas Tech to open conference play on March 15-17 but have not won a conference series since. The same team that began the season ranked No. 23 in D1Baseball’s poll sits at the bottom of the Big 12 standings and, barring a sweep against the Sooners, will be the one team to miss the tournament.
Nathan Wiles (7-3, 3.81 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound in game one at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, against Texas’ Bruce Elder (2-3, 2.81 ERA).