Oklahoma Sooners complete comeback to beat Kansas in walk-off fashion

Friday in Arlington was a blast for those who donned the Crimson and Cream. Oklahoma, one of the nation’s best baseball teams, entered the day as the Big 12’s number one seed, looking for a win to reach its final Big 12 Tournament championship game.

They had to wait for their opponent as Kansas and TCU, teams OU defeated earlier in the week, duked it out in an elimination game. Kansas jumped out to a 9-0 lead after just the first inning before TCU roared back to tie the game at 9. The Jayhawks won 10-9, setting up one-half of the Big 12 semifinals.

Oklahoma started the game poorly, and Kansas looked like a team that had already been awake for three hours. Brendan Girton started the game for the Sooners, but he didn’t have it out there. He only completed one inning, allowing four runs in the first and two in the second before being lifted for Grant Stevens. He walked two batters as well.

With the Sooners in a 6-0 hole, Stevens came in and immediately cemented himself as one of the stars of the day. He twirled 5.1 scoreless innings with six strike outs, scattering seven hits and no walks.

The Sooners bats began to come to life in the fifth inning. Backup catcher Scott Mudler singled to start the fifth for the Sooners. With two outs in the frame, freshman shortstop Jaxon Willits, smoked a first-pitch slider from Kansas’ J’Briell Easley to right field for a two-run homer.

Easley had dominated the Sooners to that point, amassing double-digit strikeouts. Easton Carmichael singled and forced Kansas to swap Easley for Kolby Dougan. Carmichael immediately stole second before Michael Snyder and Anthony Mackenzie drew walks to load the bases.

Jackson Nicklaus, another one of the stars of the day, delivered a two-out knock to right, scoring two and closing the gap to 6-4. Lefty Gavin Brasosky was brought in to face Kendall Pettis, who then delivered another two-out hit, scoring Mackenzie. Nicklaus was thrown out trying to reach third base to end the inning. But the Sooners were down just 6-5 heading to the sixth.

Stevens shut down the Jayhawks in his last full inning of work, and Oklahoma got right back to work trying to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.

A Jason Walk single and two wild pitches put Oklahoma in a prime spot. Centerfielder John Spikerman earned a walk before another big hit by Jaxon Willits tied the game. This time, it was a double to right center field. Oklahoma failed to scratch another run across despite runners on second and third with less than two outs.

Carson Atwood, James Hitt, Jett Lode, and Ryan Lambert continued Stevens’ work and put up zeros for the remainder of the game, leading to the ninth and final frame.

Mackenzie singled to right field for his second hit of the game, and Jackson Nicklaus wrote his name in Oklahoma baseball history. Facing a 2-2 count, Nicklaus sent Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship series with a loud blast of a home run to right field.

Nicklaus went 2-for-5 with four RBI. Willits was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Carmichael and Walk each had two hits in the win.

After an awful first inning, Oklahoma’s bullpen kept the Jayhawks off the board for the remainder of the game.

It was a strong performance and provides the opportunity for the tournament’s No. 1 seed to win the title for the first time since 2014. Oklahoma still has a chance to lock up a top eight seed, which would give OU the right to host both regional and super regional rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The championship game will take place Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire