With a .313 team batting average coming into the night, 25th-ranked Baylor had carved out a place as one of the best hitting teams in the country.
Oklahoma’s Cade Cavalli crunched the numbers, and (mostly) kept Baylor’s bats in check.
It was the classic case of good pitching beating good hitting, as Cavalli and the Sooners limited the Bears’ big flies in a 7-5 Oklahoma win on Friday night at Baylor Ballpark. Oklahoma came into the game ranked second nationally in team ERA at 2.42, behind only Tennessee (2.37), and lived up to that billing.
Again – mostly.
Cavalli didn’t dominate by any stretch, striking out only one while walking five. But he kept the Bears (22-10 overall, 6-3 Big 12) from staging a run-scoring parade by (mostly) limiting them to loud outs. Baylor hit several balls off the OU ace quite hard, only to see them make a beeline for an outfielder’s glove.
Baylor falls a half-game behind Oklahoma State (21-11, 7-3) in the conference standings.
Even on a intermittently frustrating night offensively, Baylor managed to bring the tying run to the batter’s box against the Sooners’ bullpen in the ninth. Andy Thomas delivered a one-out double to give the Bears a chance. But OU’s Jason Ruffcorn – the son of Scott Ruffcorn, a former Baylor letterman from 1989-91 and big league pitcher — struck out the Bears’ Shea Langeliers and Cole Haring to snuff out the threat.
Baylor sophomore Jimmy Winston entered the game with a sparkling 0.95 ERA that ranked fourth nationally. The right-hander worked on lowering that mark from the start, breezing through the first two innings by retiring the first six hitters, striking out a pair.
But the Sooners figured out Winston in a big way in the third, bashing their way to five runs. They actually started out with a textbook display of small ball before breaking out the heavy artillery.
Oklahoma opened with a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt before nine-hole hitter Brandon Zaragoza plopped one into shallow center for an RBI single. Zaragoza blazed a trail for others to follow, as two more Sooners followed with singles, including Brady Lindsly, who made it 2-1. Then Brylie Ware unloaded, depositing a Winston offering deep over the wall in left-center for a three-run bomb that stretched the gap to 5-1.
By the time the inning was over, Winston’s season ERA had jumped more than a full point to 1.98. He took the loss to fall to 3-1 on the year.
Later in the third inning, Ware also used his glove hand to hurt the Bears. The Bears put two batters on with one out against OU’s Cavalli. Then Langeliers scorched one down the third-base line, but Ware could handle the heat. He made a slick pick before stepping on the third-base bag for the force out on the lead runner and then gunning across the diamond to throw out Langeliers for the double play.
Oklahoma (25-10, 6-4) stretched the lead out to 7-1 by scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth. Lindsly came through with a two-out double off BU reliever Tyler Thomas for the fourth-inning scratch, and the Sooners capitalized on an uncharacteristic error from Nick Loftin at shortstop to score in the fifth.
The Bears got a couple back in a mighty way in the sixth. Langeliers smoked a Cavalli delivery for a two-run shot to left, his second of the year, cutting the hole to 7-3.
That’s the way it stayed until the eighth, when Baylor made another flurry, this time off OU reliever Zack Matthews, who struggled with his command. Mack Mueller scored from third on a Matthews wild pitch, and BU later added another on a Loftin RBI single.
But the Bears – who went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 10 batters on base – couldn’t keep the rally going. Oklahoma, conversely, was money with runners in scoring position, hitting .364 (4-for-11).
Cavalli picked up the win to go to 5-1 on the year, while Ruffcorn tallied his eighth save.
The series will continue on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. Oklahoma will send right-hander Nathan Wiles (5-1, 3.28 ERA) to the hill, while Baylor will counter with southpaw Paul Dickens (3-1, 4.01).
Big 12 baseball Oklahoma State 27, Kansas 6
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In football, this may have been a respectable final score. In baseball, it was an absolute annihilation.
Oklahoma State clobbered a school-record 12 home runs in thumping the Jayhawks in the teams’ series opener Friday. Seven different players had home runs in the onslaught for OSU (21-11, 7-3), with Christian Funk and Trevor Boone pounding three home runs apiece.
The Cowboys mashed 22 hits in all, including 17 of the extra-base variety.
Kansas State 6, Texas 4
AUSTIN – The Wildcats picked up their first win in Austin since 2013, holding off a late Longhorn rally at UFCU Disch Falk Field.
Kansas State (15-20, 2-5) came into the day with the league’s worst ERA at 5.52. But the Wildcats limited Texas (22-14, 4-5) to one run in the first five innings, and UT couldn’t break through enough against the KSU bullpen to complete the comeback.
West Virginia 2, Texas Tech 0
MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Alex Manoah turned in one of the best pitching gems of the Big 12 season thus far in blanking the Red Raiders.
Manoah struck out 15 Tech hitters and walked none in picking up the victory. He threw 125 pitches, including an amazing 103 for strikes. Tech (22-10, 5-5) finished with just four hits against the hard-throwing right-hander, who helped West Virginia improve to 21-12 and 5-5.