Mathematically, Oklahoma remains in play for the Big 12 championship.
But for Sooners coach Sunny Golloway, there was but a single digit that mattered Sunday: 1; as in one win.
One win to salvage something from a lost Bedlam series and end a four-game conference losing streak that dumped his club from first into a fourth-place tie in the conference standings and threatened its status as an NCAA Tournament team.
So Sunday's 5-4 win before a Mother's Day crowd of 4,828 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark offered some satisfaction.
Now, Golloway and his club are investing in the power of one.
“Our season is long from over if we'll go battle,” Golloway said. “With our arms and our team and our toughness, I think we could go a long way. …
“It's just a matter of us continuing to be tough and moving forward and playing it one game at a time.”
The weekend offered something for everyone.
For the fans, three one-run games provided interest and drama — and even a Josh Holliday ejection Sunday — throughout its Tulsa and Oklahoma City tour.
For the Cowboys, a series win strengthened their case for a postseason berth, raising their league-best overall record to 36-13 and boosting their RPI to No. 34, after it had been an unappealing 101 just three weeks ago.
“I'm disappointed we didn't win today,” said Holliday, “but I'm certainly not disappointed with the way we're playing. I'm not disappointed with their effort. (Oklahoma) would be the type of ballclub and the type of ace pitchers you're going to have to beat if you really believe you can extend your season.
“And I really thought we answered that challenge this weekend pretty well.”
Golloway agreed: “I think Oklahoma State solidified themselves as an NCAA Tournament team. I think they're very competitive. They pitch it really well, they hit it really well and they defend.”
For the Sooners, Sunday at least offered a moment to exhale, after a recent stretch of struggle involving 12 losses in 21 games that ratcheted up the stress level for a club that once seemed to be an NCAA Tournament lock.
OU will close the regular season at Kansas State, the Big 12's first-place team; a difficult task for sure. Still, a sweep could earn the Sooners the league title.
“If you told anyone you'd have a chance to win the conference title the last weekend, there's not a team in the league that would say they don't want that,” Golloway said. “Regardless of how difficult it will be, winning ballgames and winning series this time of year are important.”
For OU's postseason hopes, continuing to win could be critically important. After Sunday's win, the Sooners' RPI is No. 45, hardly a number that inspires comfort.
“I'm biased, and I believe we are,” an NCAA Tournament team, Golloway said, “but we still need to play hard and we need to win.”
The Sooners again looked the part in the Bedlam finale, a game Golloway dubbed “a must win.”
After falling behind 4-0, they rallied with two decisive innings — a three-run fourth and a two-run fifth — while the bullpen locked down the Cowboys over the final six frames.
OU's recently quiet bats, while not explosive, at least were timely, with six of the lineup's eight hits coming in the two breakthrough innings. And there was some unexpected life, with Kolbey Carpenter going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and Anthony Hermelyn adding two hits.
“I just went up there and tried to put good swings on balls,” Carpenter said. “Earlier in the year I tried to do too much. I just tried to not to do too much and it ended up working.”
Hector Lorenzana stayed hot, with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. And Jacob Evans closed out the bullpen's sterling work, providing two innings of scoreless relief for his ninth save.
Something for everyone.
“They came back and won,” Holliday said. “I give the credit to OU for how they played today. I'm really proud of my kids. Those guys are bringing it.”