College baseball: Missouri beats Oklahoma to win Big 12 tournament
Missouri's exit to the SEC came with a fond farewell wave Sunday, as the Tigers beat Oklahoma 8-7 in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma's shot at the Big 12 Tournament title started shakily and ended empty Sunday.
But what happened in between, reflective of OU's week and more, provided Sooners coach Sunny Golloway with a platform for optimism.
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Missouri bolted to big early leads, then fought off a Sooner rally to claim its first Big 12 baseball championship, 8-7, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The Tigers, in farewell address before exiting for the Southeastern Conference, completed an unlikely run to the title after finishing sixth in the regular-season standings, never losing a game in Oklahoma City. In doing so, they claim the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Sooners are assured of postseason life, too, one reason Golloway can look ahead with anticipation.
“We know that we'll get to play next weekend,” Golloway said. “And Missouri deserves to play next weekend.”
The Sooners spent everything in an effort to win Sunday, trying to claim the program's first conference crown since 1997. Apparently, they took it hard, too, as Golloway didn't allow anyone else from his club to talk to the media afterward, a departure from the parade of players brought into the interview room after each of OU's wins.
Those other games – wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor twice – allowed Golloway to look past Sunday's disappointment.
“What we lost here today – a championship, a ring, a trophy,” Golloway said. “But what we take from it is the fact that we played three really, really solid games. And that's what it's going to take to advance.
“If you can win three next weekend, you're going to move on. And you can't play more than three the following weekend.”
Missouri put the Sooners in a hole immediately, chasing OU starter Damien Magnifico in the first inning. The hard-throwing Magnifico suffered from an infield error, but he also allowed issued a walk and allowed two hits, including a two-run double by Mizzou's Ben Turner.
He left after five batters, recording just one out.
“I think it was a pressure situation from the get-go,” Golloway said. “We needed to do some things to help settle him in. They did what they had to. They hunted the fastball.
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