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OU baseball upset by UConn in NCAA Tournament as late Luke Broadhust HR stuns Sooners

NORMAN — It had been a classic pitcher’s duel when OU reliever Dylan Crooks replaced Braden Davis in the seventh inning against UConn.

With two runners on base and one out, UConn held just a one-run lead and hadn’t been particularly impressive offensively.

But with one swing, Luke Broadhust changed everything.

The senior third baseman launched a three-run homer over the left field wall and UConn held on from there as it beat ninth-seeded OU 4-1 Saturday night at the NCAA Tournament Norman Regional at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

With the win, UConn advanced to the finals and has to get defeated twice to not advance to super regionals, while OU will play Duke at 2 p.m. Sunday in an elimination game.

The winner of that matchup will face UConn at 8 p.m. Sunday and on Monday if necessary.

Here are some takeaways from UConn’s win against OU.

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Jun 1, 2024; Norman, OK, USA; UConn Huskies infielder Bryan Padilla (1) gets the out at second base during the first inning of an NCAA Division I Baseball Championship game between the UConn Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2024; Norman, OK, USA; UConn Huskies infielder Bryan Padilla (1) gets the out at second base during the first inning of an NCAA Division I Baseball Championship game between the UConn Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

OU struggles against UConn’s Stephen Quigley

OU didn’t have a problem with putting the ball in play.

OU’s hitters made contact throughout the night, but balls simply weren’t falling for the Sooners.

UConn starting pitcher Stephen Quigley (6-3) struck out just two batters but allowed only seven hits and one run before he was replaced by Brady Afthim with no outs in the ninth.

“Stephen Quigley pitched really good tonight,” OU coach Skip Johnson said. “We hit a lot of balls hard in that game right at guys, and that’s baseball. I thought our guys battled all night long.”

Quigley, who graduated from high school in 2018, has a lot of experience.

That’s a common theme for this UConn team.

“They’ve played a lot of baseball in their life,” Johnson said. “I think that guy (Quigley) has been in (college) baseball since 2019. And so it shows.”

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Jun 1, 2024; Norman, OK, USA; UConn Huskies pitcher Stephen Quigley (42) throws a pitch during the first inning of an NCAA Division I Baseball Championship game between the UConn Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2024; Norman, OK, USA; UConn Huskies pitcher Stephen Quigley (42) throws a pitch during the first inning of an NCAA Division I Baseball Championship game between the UConn Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Pettis leads OU’s offense in loss

Kendall Pettis gave OU its only run of the game as he led off the eighth with a solo homer over the left field wall.

He hit ninth in the lineup and provided a spark for the Sooners as he finished 2 for 3.

Bryce Madron also had two hits, but the Sooners were pretty quiet offensively outside of that.

“We hit a lot of line drives and they just weren’t falling,” Pettis said.

Despite the loss, Pettis and the Sooners are keeping their heads up with their season on the line.

“We’re up,” Pettis said. “We’re not down or anything. We don’t have any time to be down. This is an elimination game tomorrow, so we’re up and we’re not really worried about anything.”

More: How OU baseball veteran Kendall Pettis' leadership is fueling Sooners into NCAA Tournament

Braden Davis solid on mound for OU

OU’s Braden Davis (9-4) took his first loss in his last eight starts, but the left-hander had a strong night on the mound.

Davis struck out 10 and allowed seven hits before he was replaced in the seventh with UConn leading 1-0, receiving applause from OU fans as he headed to the dugout.

Crooks pitched the remaining 1 ⅓ innings for OU.

The home run to Broadhust was the only hit Crooks allowed.

“I thought Braden Davis was really, really good,” Johnson said. “And Crooks got beat with his best pitch, so that’s baseball and hats off to them. Maybe this is just part of the story.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU baseball's offense struggles to get going in regional loss to UConn