GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Peyton Graham hit a game-tying two-run home run to kickstart a four-run eighth inning as Oklahoma came back to defeat No. 13 seed Florida 5-4 and win the NCAA Gainesville Regional after a weather delay of more than five-and-a-half hours Monday at Condron Family Ballpark.
Graham’s line drive homer into the OU bullpen was his 19th of the season and knotted the game 3-3. With runners on second and third Wallace Clark gave the Sooners (40-21) the lead with an RBI groundout that scored Tanner Tredaway, and Jackson Nicklaus made it 5-3 with an RBI single through the infield.
Jake Bennett closed out the final two innings, striking out BT Riopelle for the final out of the game to send Oklahoma to a Super Regional for the first time since 2013. It was Bennett’s first career save.
The eighth-inning comeback followed a long weather delay that began around 3:15 p.m. ET with two outs in the seventh inning and the Sooners trailing 2-1. When the game resumed at 7:45 p.m. ET, Florida (42-24) recorded the last out of the top of the seventh inning and extended its lead to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
John Spikerman led off the OU eighth by racing to second for a double on a routine line drive to left center field. Graham tied the game by knocking a 2-2 fastball over the left central wall.
“I’m just really proud of the kids and how they responded and never gave in,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “They kept getting after it and getting after it. To me the story was Kendall (Pettis) with the big home run, we got some big hits in the game, and Peyton hit a big home run to tie it. The things we did in the game were really special and JB [Jake Bennett] coming out of the bullpen was really special. He hadn’t done that all year. This could have been a bullpen day for him on a short week. The selflessness of the kids was really special, to come together and pull together.”
Kendall Pettis tied the game in the top of the fifth with his second homer of the regional and fourth of the season. Florida took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a home run by Jac Caglionone, and pair of errors led to an unearned Gators run that made the score 2-1 in the fifth inning.
Trevin Michael pitched 6.0 complete innings, struck out five and allowed one earned run in his longest outing as a Sooner. Chazz Martinez relieved him after the delay and pitched the seventh inning before turning the game over to Bennett with a lead.
Pettis was named Most Valuable Player of the Gainesville Regional and was joined on the 2022 Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team by Graham, Spikerman, Tredaway, catcher Jimmy Crooks and pitcher David Sandlin.