NORMAN — One controversial call doesn’t decide games. Oklahoma’s 10-8 loss to Kansas on Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park is going to be remembered for the bottom-of-the-ninth-inning call that ended any chance of a ninth inning rally.
The loss, which ended the Sooners’ 13-game winning streak, had much deeper roots.
The play in dispute was the slow dribbler OU pinch hitter Colt Bickerstaff put in play in the ninth inning. As pinch runner Justin Burba raced toward second base, he was ruled to have interviewed with Kansas second baseman Justin Protacio, even though he didn’t make contact with the ball, collide with Protacio or do anything other than run in a straight line from first to second base.
Citing rule 8, section 5-d of the NCAA Baseball Rulebook, the Jayhawks got a double play, and after OU’s Hunter Haley grounded out to second base three pitches later, the victory.
OU coach Sunny Golloway didn’t witness the final part of it. He was ejected after an impassioned argument with third base umpire Tom Svehla following the interference call.
“Well, you have to avoid contact with the defender. I saw the highlight and we avoided contact; I think I can say that without getting a reprimand,” Golloway said.
However, the Sooner coach had plenty of reasons to be disgusted with his team. Starting pitching has carried OU this season. It wasn’t there Saturday, and that’s why it dropped to 25-5 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12 Conference.
Starter Corey Copping was only able to get one out and gave up four runs on two hits. He also hit two batters in just 10 pitches. Reliever Ethan Carnes didn’t fare any better, allowing three runs on three hits and only getting one out. All told, the Jayhawks (15-10, 3-3) had a 7-0 lead before the Sooners stepped into the batter’s box.