The Norman Transcript

June 19, 2013

Twice is nice for Team Oklahoma in Heartland Classic

Tourney gets off to exciting start on first day

By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Parker Rigler said he isn’t an overpowering pitcher. He defines his style as confounding.

After taking the mound for Team Oklahoma on Tuesday in the Heartland Classic opener, Team Maryland may agree.

Rigler got the no decision in Oklahoma’s 3-2 win over Maryland at Norman High. He pitched six innings, allowed six hits, two runs and struck out five.

“I felt pretty good,” Rigler said. “My stuff was working. I had good command.”

Rigler graduated from Edmond Memorial this past year and will be playing baseball at Cowley County (Kan.) Community College next season.

“They have great coaches,” Rigler said. “They have always been a competitive team in the Jayhawk conference. It’s just a real good program.”

But right now his first priority is helping Team Oklahoma pick up wins.

“I thought Parker did an outstanding job for us on the mound,” Team Oklahoma coach Jeff Schafer said. “He was constantly ahead in the count. The starting pitcher gave us a chance to win the ball game.”

Oklahoma kept up its winning ways in the nightcap. After trailing Team Ohio 5-0, they scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win a thriller 6-5 at NHS.

Team Oklahoma moved to 2-0 in the first round of action. They will play Arkansas at 11 a.m. today at Southmoore.

Rigler gave up his first hit in the third inning to Maryland’s Andy Szamski. Until then, he’d been untouchable.

Maryland began to peck away at Rigler and tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning. Maryland then loaded the bases with only one out.

After a brief meeting at the mound, Rigler got Maryland to hit into a double play and end the inning.

“It was great defense behind me,” Rigler said. “There was a couple of great plays that really got me out of the inning. I didn’t do anything to get myself out of the inning.”

With Oklahoma leading 2-1 Maryland had a chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning when Zach Correa took off from second base and tried to test rightfielder Steve Thompson’s arm with a mad dash home. Thompson’s throw beat Correa by a couple of feet and Matt Whatley tagged him out to preserve the lead.

Rigler was taken out of the game and replaced by Carl Albert’s Justin McGregor in the top of the seventh after allowing a runner to reach third base. Correa responded with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.

Maryland’s Taylor Bloom loaded the bases with no outs for Garrett Odom. He hit a ground ball to third base and Maryland got the force out at home. However, the throw to first to force out Odom was dropped.

Oklahoma’s Gavin Lavalley took off from third and beat the throw home to win the game. All three of Oklahoma’s runs came on Maryland errors.

“In the game of baseball, you put the ball in play,” Schafer said. “It creates a little bit of pressure. It was a good win for us. Sometimes baseball can be ugly, but it was in the positive matter for us today.”

Michael Kinney   Follow @eyeamtruth