OU Forces Winner-Take-All Regional Final with Sunday Sweep

Monday, 03 June 2024 06:36

OU Forces Winner-Take-All Regional Final with Sunday Sweep

Written by OU Athletics Communications News Release
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NORMAN — No. 9 national seed Oklahoma staved off elimination with a pair of wins Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park, beating Duke 4-3 and UConn 6-4 to force a winner-take-all regional final Monday night.  

The Sooners (40-20) will face UConn (34-24) again Monday at 8 p.m. CT for a spot in the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional vs. Florida State. 

"It was a good day for the Sooners. We started out the day just wanting to win pitches and win innings," said OU head coach Skip Johnson

"I'm really proud of our fans," Johnson said on the atmosphere at L. Dale Mitchell Park. "It was really exciting to watch our fans, hopefully tomorrow we'll have so many fans they'll have to hire the fire marshal to come out here and make sure they check everything. Really proud of our team. Really proud of the young men, it belongs to them."

Oklahoma turned to a pair of seniors on the mound in LHP Grant Stevens and RHP Jett Lodes that put together career performances. Stevens got the start and went a season-high seven innings in Game 1 vs. Duke, surrendering one run on six hits with an OU career-high seven strikeouts. 

Lodes entered in the second inning in Game 2 and went a career-high seven innings, surrendering one run on three hits with two walks and a career-best seven strikeouts. 

OU pushed its record to 40-20, good for the program's 25th 40-win season and second in the last three years. 

GAME 1 (OU 4, DUKE 3)

The Oklahoma offense in the first game was powered by a three-run second inning viq RBI single from sophomore Rocco Garza-Gongora and two-run triple from freshman Jason Walk. Senior Michael Snyder added insurance in the seventh with an RBI single.

Duke (40-20) plated one at the top of the first via single and hit a two-run home run in the eight to bring the final margin to 4-3. 

Stevens (W, 6-1) earned his sixth win of the season in his best outing as a Sooner. Relievers Carson Atwood (0.1 IP) and Malachi Witherspoon (1.2) combined to finish the game with Witherspoon fanning one and earning his fifth save of the season. 

At the plate, six Sooners combined for seven hits with sophomore Easton Carmichael registering OU's only two-hit performance, going 2-for-4. Walk plated two, while Garza-Gongora and Snyder each had one RBI. 

GAME 2 (OU 6, UCONN 4)

The Sooners fell behind early in the nightcap, surrendering a pair in the first and one in the second to the Huskies via home run and two singles off OU starting RHP Brendan Girton. Lodes entered with one on base in the second and hurled six straight scoreless innings. 

Oklahoma's offense scored a trio throughout the second and third innings to tie the game. An RBI single from catcher Scott Mudler started the rally in the second and two-run home run from Snyder, his 11th of the season, in the third tied the contest. 

Mudler came through again at the top of the eighth to push the Sooners ahead for the first time, ripping an RBI single through the right side to score freshman Jaxon Willits

Later in the inning, senior Bryce Madron sent one up the alley in left field with the bases loaded, seemingly plating three runs. Upon review, the last baserunner did not touch third base, making it a two-run double. With the pair of runs, OU pushed the lead to three runs. 

The Huskies got one back in the eighth on a solo shot before OU junior closer Ryan Lambert entered in the ninth and put them down in order to earn his first save of the season. 

Carmichael and Mudler each had two base knocks to pace OU with Madron, Mudler and Snyder each plating a pair. 

Monday's NCAA Norman Regional Final will be aired on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. CT with Victor Rojas and Keith Moreland on the call. 

The game can be heard locally in Oklahoma on SportsTalk 1400 AM/99.3 FM or nationwide on The Varsity app.

Tickets are available via SoonerSports.com/tickets.  

For updates and more information on Oklahoma baseball, follow the Sooners on Twitter and Instagram (@OU_Baseball) and like Oklahoma Baseball on Facebook.

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