The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — For the second straight day, team Oklahoma faced a close game and then a blowout in the Heartland Baseball Classic. The only difference was that on Wednesday, Oklahoma was on the right side of both contests, a day after losing a close one to Maryland before run-ruling Ohio.
With a comeback 8-7 win over Arkansas and a 16-0 blowout against Colorado, Oklahoma ran its record in the tournament to 3-1 with two games to play. The victories were a welcome development for a team that expects to win the tournament, and the wins set Oklahoma up for a shot at the tournament’s No. 1 seed when round-robin play ends.
The day’s first game against Arkansas provided the drama, while the second against Colorado brought the fireworks. Against Arkansas, Oklahoma took an early lead only to find itself trailing in the seventh inning thanks to a pair of errors. But that simply set the stage for Oklahoma’s comeback in its final at-bat.
Trevor McCutchin provided the tying runs when he lined a hard grounder to short that slipped under the defender’s glove. That brought Riley Cabral to the plate, who laced a shot deep into center field to provide the 8-7 victory while also pitching the final two innings of the game.
“This team showed great character,” coach Shawn Newkirk said. “We struggled some and we made some errors at the wrong time, but they came back in the seventh and came up with the hits when we needed them.”
That win sent Oklahoma into the afternoon game with Colorado full of momentum, and they didn’t waste a minute of it. Oklahoma jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and never let up, scoring in every inning on the way to the 16-0 victory. Eight of Oklahoma’s nine batters recorded a hit, with Connor Finkhouse leading the way by filling the stat sheet with a 1-for-3 performance with two walks, two stolen bases and three RBIs. Jordan Payne was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, while Gavin Moore added another three RBIs.
It was the team’s second offensive explosion in as many days, but it took on a different look than Tuesday’s four-home run game against Ohio. Nine of Oklahoma’s 13 hits on Wednesday were singles, and the team also stole five bases in the contest.
“The offense was great,” Newkirk said. “They struggled early and we were able to take advantage of that.”
That was more than Oklahoma would need, given the five errors Colorado committed and the dominant effort by Blake Brewster on the mound. Brewster, who will be a senior at Moore next year, allowed just one hit through three innings before giving way to Jake Spychalski to close out the game.
“I felt pretty good out there, like I couldn’t miss a spot,” Brewster said. “I guess it was my day.”
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