Pitcher Jacob Evans had a 5-1 lead when Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway asked him to close out the remainder of the ninth inning against Kansas State. Just like the day before against Baylor, the Wildcats found their bats late in the game and scored four runs off the freshman, which tied the game at 5 and forced extra innings. After a nerve-wracking 11th inning, the Sooners’ Kyle Hayes got the needed two outs in a bases-loaded jam to preserve OU’s 7-6 win.
Going into its Big 12 Championship game against Kansas, Evans knew he needed to push the K-State game out of his memory if he wanted to have any kind success against the Jayhawks. He did just that. Evans threw five innings, faced 19 batters, allowed four hits and one run in the Sooners’ 7-2 title victory.
Evans reflected on how it felt to win the Sooners’ first Big 12 Championship since 1997, being in the dogpile and what’s ahead for the team:
Q: Today was a big day for you guys. Can you talk about your emotions and how you felt today?
A: “This whole week has been huge. You know, we’ve been struggling a little bit, and this week we’ve played as a team and how we did at the beginning of the season. And that tornado put a lot of motivation to us, and I think we played well.”
Yesterday was obviously a very frustrating day, can you just talk about what happened, and how you resolved to fix that today?
“Yesterday, I was probably just putting too much pres sure on myself and not hitting my spots. I was trying to do too much and not let my defense finally work. And today, I kind of --------------- --------------- did that at the beginning, but (my defense) worked it out and (I) let my defense play.”
So what did you do after the game to get yourself out of that funk and to clear your head, knowing that you were going to have to play a big part in the next game?
“I just went to dinner with my family, and I had a friend in town, too. And then just went back to the hotel that night, played some video games with my buddy, and we just waited around last night to see who we play. We found out we play (Kansas) and went to bed and just got ready for today.”
Do you remember what video game you played by any chance?
“MLB the Show and FIFA.”
“I think he beat me the first game of the Show, and then I beat him in FIFA and then the next game.”
How did it feel today dogpiling and knowing you guys were going to win?
“Words can’t describe it. All of our people were pre paring since the fall, and I knew we had the lead in the regular season most of the year. And getting in that dogpile, it just meant a lot.”
And how much confi dence did you have in (Kyle) Hayes finishing out the game, knowing that you were handing it off to him?
“A lot after yesterday coming in a huge situation. He picked me up yesterday and picked me up today. He’s going to help us down the road.”
What are you going to do now?
“Regionals, Super Region als, and Omaha. That’s been our goal since fall: Get to Omaha and win it, not just get there, but win Omaha.” By Rhiannon Walker