Oklahoma baseball: Big 12 crown looms closer with 19-7 rout of Baylor

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

As the Sooner softball team braces for a tournament championship showdown with Texas, the Oklahoma baseball team is closing in on a Big 12 title of its own.

No. 18 Oklahoma (30-17, 19-7) blasted Baylor 19-7 on Friday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park to move another step closer to its first Big 12 regular-season championship. And how sweet that would be in the Sooners' final season as a member of the Big 12.

Friday's game didn't start out the way things finished, however. Baylor jumped out to 3-0 lead in its first at bat. And although the Sooners responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first, the Bears countered with another three-spot in the second to go up by four.

After giving up six runs on five hits in the first two frames, Oklahoma starter Braden Davis settled into a better rhythm while the Sooner offense started to heat up. OU scored twice in the bottom of the third to draw back within two runs and followed that up with two more in the fourth, four in the fifth and six times in the seventh to all but put the game on ice. Meanwhile, over that five inning span, Baylor scored just one run and was held to only three hits.

Eight of the nine OU players in the starting lineup hit safely in the game with six Sooners producing multiple hits and two (John Spikerman and Michael Snyder) collecting three apiece. Six Oklahoma players drove in at least one run in the game.

On the night, Oklahoma totaled 16 hits, including eight for extra bases. Somewhat unusually for scoring 19 runs, none of the Sooner hits left the yard.

Despite the rocky start, Davis worked into the sixth inning, allowing seven runs (six earned) in six hits. He struck out five and walked five in earning his seventh win of the season and fifth in his last five starts. As he has all season, Sooner head coach Skip Johnson turned to his bullpen by committee to finish out the game. The combination of Dylan Crooks, Will Carsten and Reid Hensley worked the final three-plus innings, allowing just two hits and no runs.

Because of expected inclement weather on Sunday, the final two games of the series have been moved to Saturday. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. CT.

Takeaways from the Sooners' series-opening win over Baylor

  • When Oklahoma starter Braden Davis gave up three Baylor runs in the first inning on Friday, those were the first runs the Sooner Friday night starter had allowed since April 26, four starts ago.
  • Two more Oklahoma wins will assure the Sooners of no worse than a tie for the Big 12 regular-season championship. Three wins will give them the outright title. The last time an OU team won the conference title in baseball was in 1995, two years before the Big 12 was formed. The Sooners have four games remaining in the 2024 regular season: two more with Baylor and three games on the road at Cincinnati next weekend.
  • Friday night's win was OU's 19th conference win of the season, tying for the second most since the 2004 team. The Sooners' high-water mark in the Big 12 is 20 wins, achieved in 2000.
  • OU sophomore Easton Carmichael drove in a career-high five runs on three hits in Game 1 of the Baylor series.