Issuing 20 free passes in 48 innings, walking batters had not been Sooner starting pitcher Wyatt Olds’ problem this season. Yet, Friday night in Stillwater, he walked eight in less than six.
Oklahoma entered Oklahoma State’s O’Brate Stadium having scored three or fewer runs in four of its last six games and no more than six in seven of eight.
Olds pitched out of trouble and Sooner bats sent balls flying around the diamond in all directions, especially with two outs, and it was OU, not OSU, that looked like the postseason-bound team on the way to a 16-2 victory.
“I just think that’s awesome,” Sooner right fielder Brett Squires said.
It was at least that.
OU was due for a breakout game, but in the Bedlam Series, in Stillwater?
OSU starting pitcher Bryce Osmond needed only face eight batters to get his first eight outs, leaving it to Sooner nine-hole hitter Conor McKenna to begin the onslaught with two outs in the third inning.
He and Peyton Graham both singled, Jimmy Crooks walked and then it really began.
Tyler Hardman lined a two-run single to left-center field, Squires, Tanner Tredaway and Diego Muniz all followed with RBI singles and it was 5-0.
Next time up, Osmond retired Justin Mitchell and McKenna before Graham and Crooks both took him out of the park to make it 7-0.
Hardman made the last out of the frame only after OSU right-fielder Cade Cabbiness flagged down his opposite-field shot almost leaning against the wall.
“We’ve definitely been working over this past week on situational hitting and getting to the next guy,” Squires said. “And I think that’s all we were really trying to do tonight and it obviously paid off.”
Squires may have a gift for understatement. The Sooners cranked out 14 hits, but four of them left the park. They drew 12 walks, too.
“We’ve been working on it and working on it and working on it,” OU coach Skip Johnson said. “You see it at times … We’ve got to continue to keep doing that; the rally’s never over.”
Having taken over the game, OU sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored seven runs behind a solo home run from Squires, a sacrifice fly from Mitchell, RBI singles from McKenna and Graham and a three-run home run over left-center field from Hardman, pushing the score to 14-0.
Olds was hardly efficient, yet plenty effective, walking eight, striking out five and yielding just one hit and a single run over five innings.
“He made pitches when he had to make pitches,” Johnson said.
Squires finished 4 for 6, scoring two runs and driving in two. Hardman went 2 for 5, scored twice and drove in six.
McKenna went 2 for 4, scored three times and drove in one. Crooks went 1 for 3, drew two walks, scored three times and drove in one.
Oklahoma State (24-13-1, 7-9 Big 12) finished with just two hits, the Sooner relieving trio of Jaret Goldman, Carson Carter and Carson Atwood, picking up where Olds left off.
“It’s a big boost,” Johnson said. “It just proves the work you put in, it comes to pass.”
OU (21-19, 5-8) must hope so. There’s two more Bedlam games this weekend, both in Norman.