OSU drops a tough one against Texas and OU rallies to win, setting up Bedlam – again

OU and OSU will meet for the 7th and final time this baseball season (unless something REALLY weird happens in the post-season) in the elimination bracket of the Big 12 baseball tournament at Bricktown Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Friday night. I really feel for OSU starter Jon Perrin, who likely impressed pro scouts with his 6 and 1/3 innings pitched. Allowing just one run early, his team gave him no support – mainly due to Texas’ terrific play behind two pitchers defensively. Texas beat the Cowboys 3-0. OU won earlier in the day with a wild finish, scoring 3 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th for a walk-off 9-8 win over Texas Tech. Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma 13-4 in the opening game of the tourney Wednesday and have topped the Sooners in 4 of 6 meetings this season.

Here’s my recap for KOSU-FM. Listen weekday mornings to the NPR station as I try my best to provide you with a little sports coverage for morning anchor Nikole Robinson Carroll.

Big 12 baseball tourney recalls the “crack” of the bat

Watching Oklahoma State – top seed in the tourney – and their bitter cross-state rivals Oklahoma play on the opening day of the Big 12 baseball tournament at Bricktown Ballpark, scuffled up some good memories.

All I ever wanted to do in my career was baseball play-by-play, and as an 18-year-old was lucky enough to do just that, calling 50 or so games starting my freshman year at Georgia State University. We had good, competitive teams and we traveled to some great ballparks in the old Sun Belt Conference. What got me thinking about this was when I was talking to local radio icon and friend Randy Renner in the press box, I was reminded that the “ping” of the “aluminum” bat that had become so prevalent in the 80s and into the 90s has given way to a more civilized “thwing”. Still not wood, still able to turn a fly ball into a home run, the “artificial” bat of today is less responsive and thus, more natural. And yes, I am aware they aren’t really aluminum anymore, but I digress. (Ironically, or perhaps coincidentally at least, Cody Stravenhagen from the Oklahoman penned a pretty cool story in today’s paper about the current bats used in college baseball. I actually started this blog entry yesterday, so great minds think alike. You can read it HERE.)

I told Randy how I recalled when GSU went to Florida State to play the mighty Seminoles, who like many warm weather programs feast on snowbirds, teams that come from the north when the seaosn opens, hoping to just get in some games – or practices – of any kind. These teams know they will likely get thumped; schools like FSU feast on the less than “summer ready” competition. But still, you hope to steal away a game if you’re GSU, wjhich would be good for your program and after all, the Panthers were pretty good as a smaller Division I program. So there was the pride issue. And FSU was arogant, top to bottom. Their fans were rude (still are, I’m sure), their players walked around like you were lucky to be on their field. Which, in my opinion, might be why you haven’t seen that great program raise many NCAA championship banners. Any banners?

Any way, they had a guy named Jeff Ledbetter – who later would earn the nickname Jeff “I’m Better” in his brief minor league career. This guy feasted on the offerings of opposition, using the pingy bat, the lefthanded batter also took advantage of the Tallahassee jet stream (which I called it) which blew out to right field. And there was also quite a short porch there. Funny, he set all sorts of records for hitting, but never made it out of Class A ball.

Randy recalled the great pings generated by Pete Incaviglia, an iconic All-American who played for great OSU teams and set the NCAA career homer record. he of course was the real deal, going on to a nice big league career. It made me recall one of my favorite players early in my broadcasting career (as a Braves fan growing up I also covered the team much of the 1980s). Bob Horner was the first Golden Spikes Award winner coming out of Arizona State. (Inky later broke his homer marks, I believe). Horner was pudgy (dare we say fat), but had the quickest wrists since Henry Aaron. The Braves launching pad (plus the presence of Dale Murphy in the lineup) gave Horner some pretty good looks, and though injuries kept him down almost all of his career, he had three 30-plus homer seasons and even one four homer game.

College baseball’s live bat era preceded Major League Baseball’s steroid era, and while you can’t compare the two for obvious reasons, they certainly do both show how much chicks (and fans) have always dug the long ball.

Some other prodigious collegiate home run stories I have witnessed during my career, PBP and otherwise?

  • Future LA Dodger Franklin Stubbs destroyed one at Panthersville against GSU (some time from 1980-1983)
  • At Cal State Fullerton I was able to do Titans games for parts of three years, two on TV with the now-defunct Orange County NewsChannel (before Fox Sports Net started doing everybody’s games) and another on the budding “Internet”. Wow, some great hitters there, including Aaron Rowand, who has had a pretty solid big league career. I remember big first baseman Aaron Rifkind “dusting the pollen off the roses in the arboretum” on occasion. He had a nice minor league run, as did a ton of guys on that team. Kirk Saarlos and catcher Kurt Suzuki were the most successful in the show, though neither hit homers, so I once again get off track.
  • I remember Gerald Laird raking a few at Cypress College.
  • In the minors, some made the transition to wood better than I thought. Bo Jackson. Yowza I saw him hit a long one. Reggie Jefferson with the Lookouts in Chattanooga struggled at first at Double-A but got to the bigs pretty quickly. And in spring training, I’m not sure I ever saw a young, unknown player hit the ball harder than Ryan Klesko of the Braves.
  • But back to college, in those days (starting in the 80s and building into the early 2000s)- long balls became more and more ridiculously easy, so they had to change the bats.

Another note about those days calling CSF games. Full disclosure: coach George Horton loaned me a couple of bats which were no longer “legal” and thus reserved for batting practice. I used to play in men’s senior leagues every year and the bats were sweet. Sorry coach; I never returned them. I still have them.

And it’s a good thing they did. I have already seen effective bunt and runs. I have seen (some) outfielders play shallow (more should) when they used to just back up the wall in left and give up tons of slap hits. Are you listening O-U? Pitchers work both halves of the plate, which creates a mental metric no stat man can ever use to predict outcomes. And the ball coming off the bat just sounds better.

And the sights, sounds and smells of baseball are part of why you should wander out to the ball park, any ball park, whenever you have time to relax and think back… to the days when you took one deep. (Maybe it wasn’t just the bat!)

 

 

OSU Cowboys top OU 13-4 in Big 12 tourney opener

Great crowd, outstanding team effort for OSU over a gritty OU team in the opening round of the Big 12 tourney at Bricktown Ballpark. I recommend you take the family out this weekend to some of the action – no matter who your favorite team is.

For info, go to the conference website here. 

Oklahoma bowl picks (sort of) and a look at just how good the Thunder is heading to 2014

Michael Cross and I sat down for our last Sports Talk segment on KOSU for 2013. I mish-mashed about the bowl games…. I do believe both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can win their bowls, Cotton and Sugar respectively. In fact, as of today, I would pick both the Cowboys and the Sooners to win in upsets. But the games are a few weeks off, injuries and player wanderings happen, so that could change… but I’ll say it now: Alabama is not as good as the past few years offensively and Missouri is dang good, but there’s something crazy about OSU’s big-play ability.

Any hoo, if you missed our KOSU segment, you can hear it here…

Bedlam Final Score 2013

Sooner Softball Team And Chamberlain Continue to Roll; So Does Gray and His Baseball Mates at Texas

8803138Baseball opened their weekend set at Texas with a 2-1 win, as Jon Gray improved to 5-1 with 6 2/3 shutout innings. they play two more in Austin this weekend.

Softball also opened Big 12 play with a W. Here’s the quick line from the OU folks after the top ranked softball Sooners did it again, busting Baylor 8-3. .

Attached is the box score from Oklahoma’s 8-3 win over Baylor on Friday night

-          Oklahoma used a five-run fifth inning to break open a game that was tied at 2-2

-          Lauren Chamberlain hit a 3-run HR in the fifth. It was the 17th of her season and 47th of her career; she is now tied for sixth all-time on the Big 12’s career home run list

-          Keilani Ricketts got the win to improve to 17-1 on the year. It was also the 115th of her career, tying Jennifer Stewart (1999-02) for the most in school history

-          Ricketts pitched 5.2 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts and 3 walks

-          Michelle Gascoigne came on in relief, throwing the final 1.1 innings. She allowed 1 hit and struck out four. She entered against a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, but got a fly out to end the threat.

-          OU drew nine walks in the game, including three with the bases loaded

 

Oklahoma 8, Baylor 3 (Apr 05, 2013 at Norman, Okla.)

———————————————————————-

Baylor………….. 002 001 0 –  3  7  2      (29-8, 3-3)

Oklahoma………… 020 051 X –  8  8  1      (32-2, 1-0)

———————————————————————-

Pitchers: Baylor – Canion, Whitney; Repka, Courtney(5) and Hosack, Clare. Oklahoma -

Gascoigne, Michelle; Ricketts, Keilani(2) and Shults, Jessica.

Win-Ricketts, Keilani(17-1)  Loss-Canion, Whitney(15-5)  T-2:12  A-1217

HR OU – Chamberlain, Lauren (17).

Weather: Low 60s, partly cloudy

Brace the snow, watch OU Women vs Baylor for free

The University of Oklahoma may be closed down for studies due to inclement weather, but the game – at least for now – will go on at Lloyd Noble Center tonight (Monday, February 25, 2013.)The OU women are hosting the defending national champs and the NCAA Player of the Year from Baylor in a key Big 12 matchup.

They’re letting anyone who can make it in for free; hopefully only those who live within a snow walk of the game will brave expected bad road conditions. Baylor was obviously already in town, and since it’s a nationally televised game (ESPN2) the game goes on.

They’re also giving away free hats to the first thousand folks in attendance.  I’ll be home watching it and hoping everyone gets in and out safely tonight, as central Oklahoma tries to avoid the brunt of a huge winter storm that is hammering the western part of the state and the Texas panhandle.

The bummer is this week’s taping of SoonerSports Pad is off. We have a terrific package done by student Michael Runyan profiling Morgan Hook, the team’s starting point guard. I guess we will run it next week!

Here’s the story from sooner sports.com

NORMAN, Okla. – Due to expected inclement weather, admission to Monday’s women’s basketball game between Oklahoma and Baylor, tipping off at 6 p.m., at Lloyd Noble Center will be free. Here are details on the game:

FREE ADMISSION
All fans will be admitted free of charge (doors open at 4:30 p.m.). However, season ticket holders and other fans who purchased tickets for the game in advance will have first right to occupy their reserved seat locations. If you already have tickets, please bring those with you for access to that seat location.

For those without tickets, all seats not occupied by the season ticket holder or by fans who purchased tickets in advance will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

PARKING
Parking lots on all sides of Lloyd Noble Center are expected to be open.

FREE HATS FOR FIRST 1,000
Monday’s promotion of Coach Coale-designed hats given to the first 1,000 fans through doors will continue as scheduled. The hat is also available for purchase on OU’s official online store.

Final: OU 73-67 Sooners Men’s Hoops Vs Texas

(Updated at end of game)
Senior forward Romero Osby scored a career high 29 points to go with 8 rebounds to lead Oklahoma to a 73-67 win over Big 12 rival Texas, giving the Longhorns (8-10) an 0-6 mark for the first time in their Big 12 history. The Sooners improved to 13-4 and 4-1 with their 6th win in seven games.
Junior Amath M’Baye threw down three spectacular dunks via the lob and finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Freshman Buddy Hield was also in double figures with 12 points, as Oklahoma shot 48 percent from the field against the nation’s number two FG% defense.

The Longhorns narrowed a double digit second half deficit to four points when Cameron Ridley’s three made it 69-65 with 1:00 to play. before the Sooners closed out the win. Oklahoma next plays Saturday at Kansas.

Sheldon McClellan came off the bench to score 25 to lead the Longhorns, who host Texas Tech Saturday night, January 26th.

(Updated 10:22 pm)
M’Baye’s electrifying leaping ability led to at least three lob slams, including one from Sam Grooms on the break to give Oklahoma a 63-55 lead at 4:20. With Osby taking a breather, Texas threatened to close the gap before Hield’s strong left side baseline bucket gave Oklahoma an 11 pt lead with 3:05 to play.

Updated 10:14 pm
OU 59-52 6:43 remaining)
The Sooners finally hit a couple of threes, one each for Osby and freshman Jelon Hornbeak to keep the surging Longhorns at a distance. Texas’ biggest weapon is the sneaky scorer Sheldon McClellan, who leads them off the bench. He had 21 of his team’s first 52 points.

(Updated 10:07 pm)
Osby’s two free throws at 9:31 in game equals his career high at OU with 24 pts.

(Updated A 10:04 pm) As the Longhorns’ young big men wore down, Oklahoma’s most reliable scorer up front began to go to school. Senior Romero Osby set his sights on his career high of 24 points, scoring 22 in the first 28:00 to help OU push their lead to 12 at 50-38 with 11:14 to play.
(Updated 9:55 pm OU 45-36)
One of the most spectacular plays of the game came when the Sooners defense allowed them to run. Veteran floor leader Steven Pledger partially blocked a Longhorn attempt, ran with. The loose ball and found a soaring, streaking M’Baye for a slam that gave the Sooners their biggest lead at 9 pts.
(Updated at 9:50 pm with OU leading 38-34)
Texas defense limited the Sooners perimeter attempts. Averaging more than 15trey tries a game, OU was 0-3 in first 24 minutes. Their fewest three point attempts in a game this year came in a one point win at Oral Roberts (2 of 10).

(Updated at 9:40 start of second half)
Big stat from first half? Texas’ bench out scores OU’s 20-2 in the first half.

(First Half updated at 9:29 pm) Buddy Hield’s early lob to Amath M’Baye brought the “Cheer Like A Champion” t-shirt wearing crowd to their feet early, as Oklahoma (12-4, 3-1)built an early lead. But the game never got rolling until the Longhorns (8-9, 0-4) tried to muscle up on OU.

Neither team has enough size to say they can go “big”, but Texas tried with three freshmen wide bodies, 6-9 Cameron Ridley, 6-10 Prince Ibeh and 6-9 freshman Conner Lammert They overcame an 8-4 deficit with a 9-2 run to take a 13-10 lead midway through the first half.

What Texas is best at is denial. They led the NCAA in 3 pt fg% defense coming into the game and were second in overall fg% defense (.345), which works best when you don’t allow second shots, which they accomplished until the closing minutes of the half.

Once OU got into an offensive rhythm, they weren’t missing their first shots, thanks mainly to the inside work of leading scorer Romero Osby. He had 14 points at half on 5 of 8 shooting as the Sooners took a 30-26 lead to the break.