CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. —
The finale was more to the form OU has used through its run late in the regular and throughout the postseason. Few outside the Sooner locker room figured Harrison would continue the string of dominant starting pitching. He’d only thrown nine innings the last three seasons.
Then he held the Mountaineers to two runs on three hits over six innings. It was the junior’s first career start.
“It was a great feeling to be able to pitch the game that takes us to a Super Regional,” said Harrison, who also improved to 1-0 in his career. “I just wanted to throw strikes.”
Regionals that go to seven games often make for ugly games. The Mountaineers were hoping that would be the case. Their pitcher was running on fumes. Jeffrey Springs (2-1) went 5 2/3 innings and gave 10 hits and five runs. Springs only threw 24 1/3 innings this season. His job was to keep his team in the game as long as possible.
Appalachian State coach Chris Pollard couldn’t believe OU had another power arm to go on Monday night.
“I was amazed when I saw Harrison. It shows you how deep their club really is,” Appalachian State coach Chris Pollard said.
The Sooners (42-23) trailed 1-0 after the first inning but erupted for three runs in the bottom of the first and cruised from there. It was Oberste who got the Sooners rolling with an RBI single, and Mayfield followed it up with a two-run double. OU didn’t trail again.
Mayfield drove in three runs, and Caleb Bushyhead went 2-for-3 to push the Sooners into the super regional round for the first time since 2010.
The Sooners went 9-for-58 at the plate in the first three games. They went 24-for-71 on Monday’s wins.
“We were due,” Bushyhead said. “We struggled the whole regional. You can pull out all the stats, and all of them were nothing short of awful. I think today we showed what we’re capable of doing, and that’s coming out and banging the ball around.”