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May 25, 2014

Season-long issues stay unresolved for Sooners

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

The Sooners finished the season with 91 errors and allowed 68 unearned runs. Consistently winning is impossible when routine defensive plays are that much of a struggle.

The Cowboys exposed OU’s infield issues midway through the game. The Sooners had a 6-3 lead going into the sixth inning, but trouble fielding a sacrifice ignited the Cowboys’ four-run inning.

“I thought he pitched well enough to put us in position to win. We’ve got to defend. We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals of baseball and defend the bunt. We didn’t defend the bunt play twice. Really that was the story of the game,” Hughes said. “We can talk about the big home run and all that other stuff. You can throw that away. We defend the bunt, we don’t even talk about that home run.”

Hughes has a point. However, the defensive issues were present on opening day and never went away. The teams playing in NCAA tournament regionals later this week improved in some fashion throughout the season.

Winning streaks are built on consistent play. In two essential areas, the Sooners were never reliable. In the end, it doomed them to lose two out of three Big 12 Conference games in the regular season and the same happened in the Big 12 tournament.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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