With Thursday's 3-2 win over Baylor, Oklahoma moved within a win of Sunday's title game.
Their reward: a day off.
Friday is an elimination day at The Brick, with Baylor and Kansas State facing off for the right to play OU in one division of bracket play. The winner returns Saturday to take on the rested Sooners at 9 a.m., with an if-necessary game scheduled for 4 p.m.
“I told the guys I don't know what we'll do for a workout (Friday),” said OU coach Sunny Golloway. “But I know that we'll meet and we'll move around a little bit. Nothing too exhausting. But we'll make sure that we've washed this (win) and we're back focused on winning a third game, getting to the championship.
“Someone's got to beat us twice, or we're going to be playing for the championship. That's our goal. Our pitching will be in good shape for that. But we've been fortunate with how it's worked out to be able to come off the highs.”
OU'S JOHN ON ALERT
Sooners starting pitcher Jordan John was put on alert Thursday, with Baylor banging several batted balls at him and around him.
He was struck by balls three times and avoided several other shots, although none did any physical damage.
“I've got to tip my hat to Baylor's hitters,” John said. “They squared the ball up pretty good. I made a play on two of them; the third one kind of got away from me.
“That's why we do PFPs (pitchers' fielding practice). You've got to be ready. You've got to have a quick reaction time. I was able to make a couple plays and keep my team in a position to win.”
REINE'S SECOND CHANCE
Crowding the plate against Baylor pitcher Crayton Bare, OU's Cody Reine tried to bluff his way on in the seventh inning, taking off toward first base in suggesting that he'd been hit by Bare's inside offering.
Reine, however, was called back by home plate umpire Jeff Henrichs.
Two pitches later, Reine launched a game-tying solo home run to right field.
“The guy had some good stuff,” Reine said. “His breaking ball was sharp. He was pounding it in on me. I thought he grazed me. I was just trying to pass it off to Max (White). I have high confidence in Max that he can get the job done.
“The umpire didn't see it that way and I got to swing the bat one more.”
OU WIN FINISHES CLOSE
After his team fell to OU 3-2, Baylor coach Steve Smith wasn't questioning first-base umpire Tom Svehla's call at first that ended the game and led to the ejection of the Bears' starting pitcher.
Svehla called Evan Mistich safe to give OU the win, just a batter after called Max White out on another close play at first.
“That play and the one just prior to that, those are bang-bang plays,” Smith said. “All you can ask, and I think we go that out of the umpire, he had a great look at it, he was in perfect position and he made the calls.
“I'd rather see the replay on the tag at second than the two calls at first.”
Smith was referring to an eighth-inning play where Logan Vick was called out at second attempting to steal with two out and Big 12 Player of the Year Josh Ludy at the plate.
Baylor starting pitcher Trent Blank was ejected on the final play.
“He needed one guy and Trent volunteered,” Smith said.
After a 1-5 start to conference play, OSU coach Frank Anderson met with his staff and mapped out the rest of the season.
Taking the NCAA Tournament into account, they made a lofty goal to get into postseason play.
“We thought we needed to win 20 of the final 27 to end the season,” Anderson said.
From that point, OSU won 18 of the next 23 games, putting them in a nice position down the stretch.
But over the next couple weeks, the Cowboys lost six consecutive games to end the season.
TEXAS LOSES ANOTHER STARTER
After Kansas' Ka'iana Eldredge grounded out in the seventh, Texas starter John Curtiss made an unusual move.
Instead of taking the mound to face the next hitter, Curtiss threw it to third baseman Erich Weiss.
“That put our antennas up,” Longhorns coach Augie Garrido said of Curtiss' throw to Weiss.
After one pitch to Tucker Tharp, Curtiss called the Texas trainer to the mound and was removed from the game.
Garrido said Curtiss felt a “twinge in his elbow. He didn't hear a pop.”
If Texas makes a regional and Curtiss is out, he will be the fifth Longhorns starter to miss time this year.
“I'm not making excuses, I'm just telling you it's been challenging,” Garrido said. “It's provided opportunities for other people but when you have 11.7 scholarships, how many pitchers do you have with that kind of quality? Not many teams have that.”