Oklahoma baseball overcomes 6-run deficit to beat Kansas, advance to Big 12 Championship game

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Top-seeded Oklahoma baseball fell behind by six runs early but rallied to beat 7th-seeded Kansas 8-6 in a Big 12 Tournament semifinal game to advance to the championship game on Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas..

Kansas scored four times in the first inning and twice more in the second to take a 6-0 lead and knock Oklahoma starter Brendan Girton out of the game.

The Sooners (37-18) were held scoreless and to just three hits through the first four innings, but exploded for five runs in the fifth to draw within one run of the Jayhawks at 6-5 heading to the sixth. OU then tied the score in the sixth on a double by Jaxon Willits, who started the five-run rally in the inning before with a two-run home run, that scored Jason Walk.

The game remained scoreless over the final three innings, although both teams left runners in scoring position on the bases. With the Sooners batting in the bottom of the ninth, Anthony Mackenzie led off the inning with a single, and Jackson Nicklaus followed with a walk-off home run to right field that ended the game and sent the Sooners to the championship game on Saturday.

Senior Carson Atwood came on in relief of Sooner starter Girton in the second inning and worked 5.1 strong innings, allowing no runs on seven hits and struck out six, to keep OU in the game. The Sooners used six pitchers in the game. Junior right-hander Ryan Lambert entered the game for the Sooners with two on and one out in the top of the ninth and struck out the two Kansas batters he faced to end the threat and earn the victory, his fourth of the season without a loss.

Cooper Moore (1-4) took the loss in relief for the Jayhawks.

The bats were sizzling for both teams. Oklahoma collected 14 hits in the game, while Kansas had 13. Six Oklahoma hitters had two hits apiece, with Nicklaus and Willits driving in four and three runs, respectively.

Oklahoma will meet the winner of the semifinal game between No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 8 UCF for the Big 12 Championship. That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday.