By Rachel Caton
WACO, Texas – The No. 17 Bears battled back from a six-run deficit in the fifth inning to bring the game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Bears were unable to complete the comeback, falling 7-5 to visiting Oklahoma in game one of the series on Friday evening.
The Bears (22-10, 6-3 Big 12) also outhit their opponent for the second-straight contest, but were unable to get the big hit to break things open. Overall, the Bears collected nine hits to Oklahoma’s seven on the day.
Offensively, the Bears were led by Shea Langeliers, who launched his second home run of the year , along with Cole Haring, who also had two hits on the day.
On the mound the Bears were hurt by leadoff or one-out walks, as all three came around to score. The defense also had two uncharacteristic errors.
Starter Jimmy Winston was not his usual sharp self, allowing five runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three-innings of work. Tyler Thomas followed and had the longest relief appearance of the season, finishing with 2 runs (1 earned) on 1 hit with three walks and four strikeouts in 3.0 innings. Hayden Kettler put up two zeroes in his first outing out of the pen this year. Daniel Caruso closed things down for the Bears in the ninth to keep things close for the offense.
The Bears struck first, as Chase Wehsener delivered a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning.
However, the Sooners (26-10, 6-4 Big 12) answered with a big five-run inning, as the they plated five runs on four hits.
Leading 5-1 after the third, the Sooners took advantage of a one-out walk and a leadoff walk in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, bringing home another one in each inning, making it 7-1 Sooners.
The Bears were not going to go down easily, however, and cut into the lead after a two-run Langeliers home run pulled the Bears within four, 7-3. The Bears chased Oklahoma’s starter, Cade Cavalli with one out in the sixth.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Bears once again cut into the lead off reliever Zack Matthews. The Bears took advantage of two passed balls and a wild pitch after a leadoff single to plate one run and added a second on an RBI single from Nick Loftin, pulling the Bears within two.
In the top of the ninth, with one on and one out, the Bears went to the pen for Daniel Caruso, who dialed up a fly out and a strikeout to end the inning, giving the Bears a shot in the bottom half.
Andy Thomas delivered a one-out RBI double and the Bears were in business, as the game-tying run came to the plate against Oklahoma’s closer, Jason Ruffcorn. However, Ruffcorn got back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
The Bears and Sooners meet up for game two of the series at 3:05 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 13 at Baylor Ballpark.